The Iranian girls football team can compete at the Youth Olympics as long as its players swap their traditional head scarves for a cap that covers their hair, FIFA said Monday.
The compromise comes after FIFA initially barred the team from participating last month over its insistence on wearing head scarves. FIFA barred hijab scarves – which protect the modesty of Islamic girls and women – in 2007 for safety reasons and to prevent political or religious statements on the field.
Iranian girls football team (Photo: AP)
"This decision was taken after both the Iran Football Federation as well as the Iran National Olympic Committee confirmed in writing that they will accept a solution whereby the players will not wear their Islamic Hijab during the matches of the competition," FIFA said in a statement. "Instead, the players can wear a cap that covers their heads to the hairline, but does not extend below the ears to cover the neck."
The Iran Football Federation was not immediately available for comment.
The state-run Tehran Times reported that Iranian authorities had consented to allowing the players to wear hats and the team would play at the Youth Olympics.
"We sent FIFA a sample of our new Islamic dress and fortunately they accepted it," said Abbas Torabian, director of the International Relations Committee of Iran Football Federation said. "They announced that there was no objection if the players covered their hair with hats."
Iran will compete in a six-nation tournament for girls at the games being held Aug. 12-25 in Singapore. Around 3,600 athletes aged 14-18 will compete in 26 sports at the inaugural Youth Summer Games.