FIFA takes first step towards lifting hijab ban for Muslim women soccer players

File this one as a win!

Muslim female soccer players are celebrating a decision by the International Football Association Board to allow them to test specially designed head coverings for four months.

Soccer’s international governing body, known as FIFA, has prohibited headscarves since 2007, citing safety concerns. The new headscarves will be fastened with Velcro rather than pins.

As you may remember, thanks to the ban on veiling, Iran’s women’s soccer team was effectively banned from participating in the next Olympics. That prompted Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, who is a vice president of FIFA, to start pushing for change. A Dutch design successfully convinced FIFA that safety was not an issue.

I’m thrilled to see that there’s one less reason for Muslim women to be prevented from participating in the beautiful game. As women’s soccer in the U.S. continues to face financial struggles, this is a good reminder that sports are, above all, about playing and everyone should have the right to play.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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