According to the Globe and Mail, eleven-year-old Asmahan Mansour was about to play her third game of a tournament in Laval, Quebec, this past Sunday. The referee---who is Muslim (huh?)---pointed at her and then to the bench. The kid had been expelled for wearing a hijab, a Muslim head scarf.
After her expulsion, her coach, Louis Maneiro, was shown a memo from the Quebec Soccer Federation saying the hijab and other religious headgear were forbidden. His team forfeited the game in protest.
Good for the coach and kudos to the team.
Brigitte Frot, executive director of the Quebec federation, said in an interview it wasn't a religious matter and that her organization is just enforcing the laws of FIFA, the sport's Zurich-based world governing body, which bans dangerous equipment.
Uh huh. I saw the World Cup. Heads outta be banned. Ah, but the plot thickens:
However, FIFA officials have been promoting the game in Muslim countries by saying that it is all right for female players to wear the hijab.
The FIFA website even has a 2006 article praising the Iranian women's national team, with a photo of a hijab-wearing player taking a free kick.
And, reached in Zurich, a FIFA official said the game laws allow "non-basic equipment" as long as it isn't dangerous.
"We are bound to FIFA [rules]," Ms. Frot said yesterday, explaining that Quebec officials have in the past ordered the removal of jewellery in piercings and medical bracelets.
The 2006 supplementary FIFA guidelines, aimed at clarifying the game laws for referees, say that "non-basic" gear made with soft, light and padded material is allowed, such as some knee braces or goggles.
While made of fabric, the hijab could still be dangerous because the player could strangle herself, Ms. Frot said.
Amazing. And if you click on the FIFA link above, you'll see a whole team of hijab-wearing footballers! Mind you, they look friggin' warm with the long pants and shirtsleeves...
Apparently, the people who let the girl play two games of the tournament were "at fault." No, mesdames, I think the fault lies elsewhere