First there was Nicolas Sarkozy and his Burqa Ban. Now there's Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, and his headscarf ban. Last Friday, just before the kickoff between Jordan, it was ruled that the Iranian women's soccer team was not allowed to wear their traditional headscarves, because they break the association's dress code, and the team was disqualified. The icing on the cake is that it was an Olympic-qualifying game. Ouch.
The women, who stood on the field crying, were not only heartbroken over the fact that their Olympic dreams were shot, they were crying over the fact that the ruling means the end of women's soccer in Iran. Way to go, FIFA.
The women of the Islamic Republic of Iran are required to cover their hair, neck, arms, and legs. Even if they are athletes competing internationally. Hence, their lack of gymnastics and swimming teams. If they don't, well, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be pissed. And you probably don't want to piss him off.
So, what is FIFA's damage? They're claiming that the headscarves are banned for safety reasons (what?), but what part of "required to wear" don't they understand? These women don't have a choice. This ruling, just like Sarkozy's (which fines women for wearing burqas in France), is only hurting the soccer players.
Look, most people feel that these ladies should be able to, for lack of a better phrase, let it all hang out. Including myself. But that's not what this post is about. It's about the fact that every time an association, or other government, puts restrictions on what women with required, traditional garb are allowed to wear, they're just screwing the little people.
This FIFA ruling, and the timing of which it was executed, is some bull s**t, to put it eloquently. Sepp Blatter didn't make soccer "safer," he took away women's dreams. As Shahrzad Mozafar, the team's former head coach, said, "When a serious woman athlete can’t participate internationally, which ambitions are left for her?"
What do you think of FIFA's ruling?
Image via ElvertBarnes/Flickr