FIFA Bans Iranian Women’s Soccer Team For Wearing the Hijab

The Iranian women’s soccer/football team was banned from playing in an Olympic qualifier match, ending their hopes of competing in the 2012 Olympics. The reason, says the Guardian, was because of their uniforms, which, in accordance with Islamic dress code, requires that their bodies be fully covered, including their hair. The Iranian football team’s uniform, with long-sleeve and long-pants tracksuits, neck warmers and head coverings, breaks FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) rules, according to a football federation official, a Bahraini national.

The AFP reports that, following the official’s decision, photos of the Iranian women’s team players in team standing around their country’s flag were shown on Iranian TV.

These are FIFA’s rules for the 2012 Olympics:

“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.”

Last April, the Iranian women’s team was banned from FIFA competition due to its wearing headscarves. The head of women’s affairs at Iran’s football federation said the country had made changes to the uniforms and “believed it had been given the approval of the world federation and of its president, Sepp Blatter.” Says Farideh Shojaei, a board member of the Football Federation of the Republic of Iran:

“We made the required corrections and played a match afterwards. We played the next round and were not prevented from doing so, and they didn’t find anything wrong. That meant that there are no obstacles in our path, and that we could participate in the Olympics.”

“[The Iran football federation chief Ali] Kafashian took it to Fifa and showed it to Sepp Blatter. And they proved that this conduct conforms to the fourth article of the Fifa constitution, which says [a kit should be] devoid of politics or religion. In reality, this kit is neither religious, nor political, nor will it lead to harm a player. They proved this, and Sepp Blatter accepted this and we participated in the Olympics.”

The team was told it could not play just moments before the qualifier match against Jordan last week, says the Guardian. They were given a 3-0 defeat in their unplayed game against Amman.

FIFA is standing by its decision, saying that the players were wearing the hijab, the traditional Islmaic headscarf:

“Fifa’s decision in March 2010 which permitted that players be allowed to wear a cap that covers their head to the hairline, but does not extend below the ears to cover the neck, was still applicable.

“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. The match commissioner and match referee therefore decided to apply correctly the Laws of the Game, which ended in the match being abandoned.”

AFP says that Iran is planning to file a formal complaint. Iran’s top official in charge of women sports, Marzieh Akbarabadi, says that the ban by the Bahraini FIFA official was politically motivated:

“In reality, the Bahraini referee who banned the Iranian team from playing took advantage of an international event to benefit his own country,” she said in an allusion to a recent diplomatic showdown between Tehran and Manama.

Predominantly Shiite Iran has been a vocal critic of the recent crackdown on Shiite protesters in Bahrain by their Sunni rulers, who in turn have accused Tehran of meddling and fanning confessional unrest in the tiny Gulf island.

Last year in the US, a 12-year-old Muslim girl, Maheen Haq, was at first benched from playing on her Maryland basketball team because she was wearing a hijab, but then then allowed to play, says ABC2news. There have also been reports in the past couple of years about Muslim girls not being allowed to play football in Canada, again because they were wearing the hijab.

But might banning female athletes who wear the headscarf from competing in events actually be denying them the opportunity for an important experience, for empowerment?


Photo of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Football, Iran vs Turkey, by مانفی (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Chris G.
.2 years ago

I wanna thanks to a great extent for providing such informative and qualitative material therefore often.Uniform Store soccer team outfits

Sandra L.
Sandra Lewis5 years ago

Take leftivism just so far. Say NO to the Hijab-extremists!

Beth S.
Beth S6 years ago


"I don't want to read one more article about a poor, "insulted" muslim being payed enormous amounts of money in restitution for not following the rules of the country they happen to live in and instead of integrate, keep on pushing their agenda towards us, forcing the majority to bend."

You got it -- the essence of what Care2 (or CAIR2) is. It's a big Left-wing/pro-Islam propaganda machine designed to forward a Leftist agenda, break down our ties with our Judeo-Christian roots and morality, so many of the readers can be welcomed into the whitewashed robed arms of Islam, so that people have difficulty discerning its fascist, totalitarian, triumphalist, supersessionist, violent, misogynist, anti-Jewish and anti-Christian actuality. Throw in some cute pictures of dogs, cats and horses and cuddly pictures and they can hide their pro-Islamist agenda behind that smoke screen.

Islam demands that WE show tolerance, giving in, bending over backwards for it, but Islam despises and intends to destroy us. Clerics, imams, sheikhs and other Islamists the world over are telling us over and over again that is what they want to do. Yet people either don't know it or won't believe it.

It's something the Jews say they learned after WWII. When people tell you that they want to kill you, believe them.

People need to wake up.

How's that for a long sentence.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari L6 years ago

Jonathan Y.: Score FIFA 10. Score muslims -10!
When is it going to stop? This endless accomodating for religions based on discrimination. I don't care if it's islam, xtianity, buddism, hinduism, aesir faith, or whatever. No religion should ever be allowed to take prescedence over human rights. And if those countries (that incidentally are dictatorships) can't comply to wellknown rules, then stay out of the game! Easy. And stay out of my life aswell. I don't want to read one more article about a poor, "insulted" muslim being payed enormous amounts of money in restitution for not following the rules of the country they happen to live in and instead of integrate, keep on pushing their agenda towards us, forcing the majority to bend. (Sorry, that was a long sentence!)
I say, as I always do, ban ALL religions and we get rid of most violence, wars, discrimination, poverty and instead we will have a more equal and inclusive world to live in!

Kevin Van Buerle
Kevin Van Buerle6 years ago

Terry K. I am guessing that you are a yank. Get with the program. Its called football not soccer.
So what that you don't care about the sport. Do you really think that the rest of the world cares about American sport. Your games are so insular and you call your teams world champions in American football where 99.00% of the time the players carry the ball with their hands. As to your other sports, it is the same type of arrogance such as baseball and basketball where the teams compete with distant teams such as New York, LA, Boston etc but are labelled as world champions.

Sure, here in Australia with a game called Aussie Rules Football, the game is insular to Australia but we are not arrogant to claim the winners of the championship as world champions as we realise that the sport is only played at the professional level only in Australia.

Nuff said

Terry King
Terry King6 years ago

It's soccer...Who cares?

kenneth m.
kenneth m6 years ago

I agree. Ban the Moslems None of their religious stuff should be seen by anyone playing soccer. They r trying to influence our kids to turn Moslem

angela Rehhorn
Angela Rehhorn6 years ago

As dissapointing as it is to see this happen, and coming from a female soccer player have to respect fifa's rules, and thier request to not display religous beliefs. It is sad for this team, and im not sure if this is the decision i would make, but at the same time soccer should be played for the game

Mabolsa Ritchie
Mabolsa Ritchie6 years ago

@ Frilly Lizard cont...

"Maybe it's time that FIFA considers amending the dress code to allow genuine believers to join this game by respecting their cultural beliefs."

Why exxactly? It's the 21st century. Don't you think that it's time that religion was removed from the public arena? Isn't it time that religious people grew up and/or butted out of everyone else's affairs? Isn't it time to face reality?

There's no way we should be pandering to ANY relious demands from ANY religious group for ANY reason whatsoever.

"After all, there was a time not so long ago when our society demanded top to toe covering, fueled by our own society's religious piety, and it was considered shocking when bathing belles showed a bit of ankle."

Correct, but the most important part of this statement is "...there was a time when..."

We've gotten past that stage now. The western world gew up and threw off those silly religious shackles. It's time others followed suit.

"Who are we to judge?"

They are infringing on OUR turf here (no pun intended) so of course we have every right to judge.

Mabolsa Ritchie
Mabolsa Ritchie6 years ago

@ Frilly Lizard

"Why has the game of soccer become a forum for religious debate?"

Because that's what muslims do with everything. They want to force everyone else to follow their rules.

"How does following the moral and cultural dictates of one's religion become an active attempt to promote their religion?"

Because it is affecting other people. There are rules in place that everyone else has to follow. If they want to play they have to follow the same rules. If the rules have to be changed to suit their religious beliefs then this is them forcing their ways onto the rest of us. It's not about promoting their religion, it's about them forcing non muslims to change the rules on something that we've been doing for a long time, in order to suit muslims. It's about exerting their assumed authority over non muslims on everything and anything they can.

"How does allowing a team to wear head to toe garb affect the actual game?"

Rules are rules. Simple.

"Maybe it's FIFA who are actually taking the high moral ground and bringing religion into the debate."

You should have read in the story that FIFA have made it clear that:

"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."

This being the case, you cannot accuse FIFA of bringing religion into it. They have clearly tried to keep religion out of it.