The AFC are to be congratulated on meeting last week to discuss the Hijab. The aim of the seminar was to propose how to resolve the issue in a way that respects both the Laws of the Game and culture as well as promote football for all women without discrimination. A very touchy subject in some quarters but one that needed to be addressed.
The Hijab issue has taken centre stage in football circles around the globe in recent years as the women’s game continues to grow in popularity. As the AFC stated “it is a cultural issue that not only affects the game, but also impacts society and sports in general. It is not limited to Asia, but extends to other continents as well.”
The following Final Communique was circulated to the media and we publish it in full:
1- The Hijab is not a religious symbol, slogan, or statement and rather is in abidance with culture.
2- We must avoid any form of discrimination or exclusion of football players due to cultural customs.
3- The football field must be a forum for cultural exchange rather than conflict.
1- There is an absolute need for a clear policy from FIFA, avoiding different interpretations on different levels of the Laws of the Game.
2- The rules have to be adapted to the evolution of the game and the society or interpreted accordingly.
3- FIFA is committed to the basic principles of non-discrimination and allows on this basis the use of the head covering.
1- Safety must remain the most important consideration for the use of Hijab.
2- Research must be commenced concerning the safe use of Hijab to ensure the safety of Hijab in the game. FIFA will coordinate the studies.
3- We must consider the lower injury risk towards the greater health benefit of practicing football as a sport.
1- Allowing the use of Hijab will increase the participation of women at all levels of the game.
2- Football is a powerful developmental tool to empower women across cultures.
1- Research should be accelerated in view of the relation with medical issues and effects on performance, and considering the balance between risk and benefits.
1- Innovative designs must be examined with full consideration of medical aspects, particularly safety, aesthetic arguments, type of material.
1- FIFA Executive Committee members Dr. Michel D’Hooghe and Prince Ali Bin AL Hussein will propose the general principles on the Hijab issue to the next Executive Committee meeting of FIFA in December of 2011, to be agreed as far as they are in accordance with the safety aspects with the aim of proposing to the IFAB meeting in February of 2012.
2- AFC Executive Committee members Ms. Moya Dodd and Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein will propose the general principles on the Hijab issue to the next Executive Committee meeting of AFC in November of 2011.
We applaud all involved for facing up to this very important issue.