Saudi Soccer Association bans hipster haircuts

Published April 10th, 2016 - 11:26 GMT
Haircuts where only part of the head is shaved are reportedly forbidden from Saudi soccer matches.
Haircuts where only part of the head is shaved are reportedly forbidden from Saudi soccer matches.

In Saudi Arabia--where it is illegal for women to drive cars or show their hair in public--a new “fatwa” seeks to combat a growing trend among young men: the hipster haircut.

So what’s the problem? According to one of the Islamic hadiths, or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, it is forbidden for men to wear hairstyles that show “Al-Qaza’.” Al-Qaza’ is defined by shaving part of one’s hair while leaving other parts unshaven, a style that is popular among youth in both the West and Arab World. It’s a favorite of athletes and musicians, and has even gained attention in recent years after becoming the chosen hairstyle of despotic North Korean dictator Kim-Jong Un.

A fatwa issued by the Saudi Soccer Association went into effect April 7, prohibiting any player – whether Saudi or foreign – from having a hairstyle that shows the “Al-Qaza’ phenomenon.”

In the decree’s first official application on Saturday, three players in a Saudi Arabian soccer game were prohibited from playing until they changed their hairstyles.

While non-typical haircuts were already banned in the league, as displayed by this video of Al-Shabaab goalkeeper Waleed Abdullah getting a free haircut to remove his small mohawk before a match in 2012, this new law affects a large number of players who wear this popular hairstyle and theoretically prevents some of the biggest names in football – from Cristiano Ronaldo to Stephan El-Sharaawy – from playing in Saudi Arabia without getting a haircut.

Of course, not everyone is happy about the new rule and many Saudi’s have taken to twitter to share their thoughts. This user wrote: “You left all the things that are clearly more important and you’re taking on Al-Qaza’?”

While this one remarked: “Water bills are unbelievably expensive, government employment has halted, government-supported real estate and family assistance loans have stopped, and there are government committees meeting about banning Al-Qiza’.”

In Saudi sport, there are stalled projects. financial crises, rampant and obvious corruption and the General Presidency for Youth Welfare is running after haircuts,” said another:

Though most Saudi twitter users found the new rule ridiculous, some came out in support of the fatwa.

The tweet below says: “I hope they ban shorts too, it shows the private parts of men and I’ve heard that some teens masturbate at the sight of players’ thighs.”

“I consider whoever does their hair like this to be short on manliness, in my opinion,” said Twitter user @brb002:

Others got goofy: “Whoever wears the Qaza’ style don’t be too happy because you look like this!” said @_violet 24, alongside a photo of Bert (of "Bert & Ernie" fame) from Sesame Street.  

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