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WSF letter helps pass unanimous decision by FIFA to allow women to wear headscarves in competition

A letter of appeal from WSF CEO Kathryn Olson asking futbol’s international governing body, FIFA, to allow women to wear headscarves during play has helped pass the decision in favor of our cause. A March 1 letter to FIFA President Joseph Blatter asked that the organization make adjustments to its current uniform policy so that women of Islamic faith could be allowed to wear traditional headscarves during competition. With 650 million women wearing headscarves around the world, a prohibition on what religious people see as a non-negotiable would exclude hundreds of millions of athletes and supporters world-wide. The letter in its entirety can be found here.

During a March 3 meeting in Surrey, England, FIFA board members met to vote on the issue. The vote followed a presentation by Jordan’s HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, who made an impassioned plea. The IFAB then unanimously agreed to the proposal in principle, pending an accelerated review of health and safety issues. A final endorsement of this proposal will also be made at the Board’s Special Meeting in July. Prince Ali shared that he is “very confident” that the issue will be officially ratified in July.

The WSF has a strong history of promoting diversity in uniforms in order to fit athletes’ needs. Read our long-standing position on appropriate athletic uniform guidelines here.