Soccer-Asia urges green light for headscarves
SINGAPORE Jan 30 (Reuters) - Asian soccer's acting president has urged the sport's rule-makers to change the laws to permit women to wear a headscarf in official matches.
China's Zhang Jilong reiterated the Asian Football Confederation's favourable stance ahead of an International Football Association Board (IFAB) review in March.
"Many women footballers in Asia wear headscarves," Zhang said on the AFC's website on Monday.
"I would like to request the IFAB to favourably consider FIFA's proposal and review the rule and allow women players to play wearing a safe headscarf that covers the neck.
"I think it is in the interests of women's football worldwide. I have personally seen the new designs with a Velcro joined at the neck, which releases if the headscarf is pulled, ensuring the player's safety," he added.
World governing body FIFA's Law 4 regarding kit states that a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player, including any kind of jewellery.
It lists the "basic equipment" as a jersey, shorts, socks, shin-guards and footwear.
Iran's women's soccer team were banned from an Olympic qualifier last June because of their full-body strip, which includes a headscarf and conforms to the Islamic dress code.
Opponents Jordan were awarded a 3-0 win and Iranian officials said the decision could cost them a place in the 2012 Games.
FIFA's rules for the 2012 Olympics state: "Players and officials shall not display political, religious, commercial or personal messages or slogans in any language or form on their playing or team kits."
IFAB, formed in 1886, is soccer's ultimate law-making body comprising four members from FIFA and four from the British associations. It will meet in Bagshot, England, on March 3.
(Editing by John O'Brien; To comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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