FIFA disqualifies Iranian women's soccer team for wearing hijab
Players of Iran's women national football team warm-up.
June 17th, 2011
03:42 PM ET

FIFA disqualifies Iranian women's soccer team for wearing hijab

By Michelle Mariam Moghtader, CNN

The Iranian women’s soccer team’s smiles turned to tears when they learned they were disqualified from an Olympic qualifying match because of their hijabs.

A Bahraini FIFA official banned the Iranian women footballers from the game for not wearing the approved cap instead.

FIFA stated that wearing the hijab while playing was a safety issue because it “could cause choking injuries.”

Several years ago, Iran held negotiations with FIFA to find an acceptable uniform. They agreed on a cap that covered the hair but exposed the neck and ears.

According to FIFA, “Despite initial assurances that the Iranian delegation understood this, the players came out wearing the hijab, and the head and neck totally covered, which was an infringement of the Laws of the Game.”

Was Iran trying to push the Islamic-dress-code envelope?

Or was something else at work?

Iran claims FIFA’s decision was politically motivated. Iran has been a vocal critic of Bahrain’s crackdown on its opposition. Bahrain, meanwhile, has accused Iran of meddling in its internal affairs.

Regardless, this tiff gives Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad something to talk about. “These are the dictators and colonialists who want to impose their lifestyle on others," he thundered at a news conference.

What do you think? Who is to blame here? Should FIFA allow Iran to replay the match? Let us know in the comments sections below.

Post by:
Topics: Islam • Sports

soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. bobalu

    Both sides agreed upon an approved cap, then Iran pulls a switcharoo. If they can't follow the rules then they should stay at home.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  2. Shahin

    These women do not WANT to wear that stinkin' hejab. They're forced to do so because of the Pisslamic Republic!
    FIFA thinks that by refusing the Iranian soccer team they will teach Iran a lesson, while in fact they're just punishing those open-minded Iranian women who just want to play like anyone else.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  3. j. von hettlingen

    Sports and international games have the purpose to promote friendship between countries. The ideal solution should be that Iran participates and the the laws of game are being observed. Out of legal security reasons rules can't be bent and Iran should stick to the dress-code. But it doesn't want to. In this situation we have to see which is more important, to let Iran play or to follow the dress-code? I would suggest the Iranian team to follow the dress-code, but the game would only be playsed in front of a female audience and it would not be broadcasted.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  4. bobalu

    Those loose fitting neck covering hijabs could be dangerous. What if one gets in a knot around someone's neck and cuts off the air to one of the players? What can the ref do? Rip the hijab off? It would cause riots around the world.

    June 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  5. Ian Holder

    I am a fan and futbolr of the beautiful game and I see no advantage from wearing hijabs and think it is a bit unreasonable for FIFA to have a "Dress code". If people can wear chains under their uniforms(which they do), if they can wear wedding rings taped up, if people can wear T-shirts that have political//social// religious and familial messages under their uniform, why not a hijabs. It is not an advantage nor does it conflict with the spirit of the game. Anyone should be allowed to play in whatever uniform they desire. Because it is always skill, grace, and desire that determines the game of football. Bring em on. I'll take the US women any day. But seriously, let them play. It is good for the game, good for the country and most importantly, good for the women players and those that aspire to be them one day.

    June 17, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Reply
  6. TowelHeadsAreMorons

    Good! It's 2011! Take off those ridiculous looking towels! Do you really think Allah cares if you have a towel on your head? No she doesn't!

    June 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Reply
    • Shahin

      you're the number 1 example of how ignorance is killing this world. IRANIAN WOMEN DO NOT WANT TO WEAR THE HIJAB, THEY ARE FORCED TO DO IT!
      The fact that they play fooball, means that they want to contribute to women's empancipation in Iran and FIFA is denying this. And you idiots should really stop thinking that everyone in the Middle-East worships "Allah". In Iran we say "khoda' which is etymologically related to the english word "god", not effing 'allah'.

      June 18, 2011 at 7:04 am | Reply
      • TowelHeadsAreMorons

        Effing DO something about it then! Get rid of Islame!

        June 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
      • Ali

        Oh please cut that nonsense. Women in Iran have been wearing hijab centuries before the Islamic Revolution. The Shah banned women from wearing hijab, even in public, and forcefully removed them. Women began wearing them in large numbers right after the Revolution before it was even made compulsory. Now personally I don't think the headscarf is necessary while they're playing sports but please cut the nonsense that women in Iran would like nothing better to remove the headscarf if it weren't for the current regime. Iran is a muslim majority country and there would always be women wearing the hijab regardless of the type of government there is.

        June 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  7. SOA

    Women are not forced in the Islamic state, if they were forced would they be playing football of all thing?, women alike men should follow the sunnah and NOT the USA or the zions! Rape, robbery and murder statistics in the west would show if man made law really works? With the exception of Iran the middle east are dogs to the zions in simple terms

    June 18, 2011 at 10:54 am | Reply
  8. G,R.Golsorkhi

    No one in Iran can tolerate this barbaric regime any longer and if the women were asked 'do you want to wear the hijab or chador' the resounding response would be a loud "NO". FIFA should Enforce the ban (disqualification) and try not to be politically correct. Sooner than later this backward regime with their false prophets will fall and Iran and Iranians can once again regain their lost dignity.

    June 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  9. unfair rules

    Why is everyone assuming these ladies do not want to wear a hijab? A lot of people choose to wear it for their own personal reasons. And these rules are ridiculous, everyone should be allowed to play, regardless of their uniforms. Many, Many football players wear shirts under their kits with strong religous messages, why aren't they being disciplined. I'm unnerved by all the ignorant comments being made. It's 2011 for goodness sakes.

    June 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Reply
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    October 8, 2011 at 9:49 am | Reply
  14. Martin

    Iran had agreed several years ago on a cap that covered the hair but exposed the neck and ears. A deal is a deal. Reneging on a deal is no sportsman's spirit. Isn't that's what Olympics all about?

    July 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
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