Kick-off for veiled Muslim girls as FIFA lifts embargo
Football chiefs at the International Football Association Board have come to an agreement on Thursday to lift a ban on women wearin headscarves during games.This decision sends a green light to the participation of many muslim nations in competition.
Earlier, players were prevented from wearing a headscarf, or hijab, at the sport's highest level for safety reasons and on religious grounds.
However, many critics declared that this ban promotes inquality at the highest level for Football; one of the world's most popular sports. Public changes in the governing body's thinking were clear last year when it was decided that the hijab was a cultural rather than a religious symbol.
The world governing body came under pressure to lift the ban in 2007, after an 11-year-old girl in Canada was prevented from wearing a hijab for safety reasons.
Furthermore, in 2011, the Iranian team was disqualified after they refused to remove their headscarves merely moments before kick off in the 2012 Olympic ssecond round qualifying match against Jordan.
The decision caused outrage in Iran, with President Ahmadinejad accusing FIFA of acting like dictators and colonialists.
Alex Soosay, general secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), said AFC, based in the capital Kuala Lumpur of Muslim-majority Malaysia, would welcome a decision to lift the ban.
The hijab is worn by women beyond the age of puberty to observe Islamic rules on modesty and interaction of the sexes.
According to FIFA, more than 29 million women and girls around the world play the game.