Iran Monday condemned world soccer body FIFA’s decision to ban the Islamic republic’s women’s team from playing a 2012 Olympics qualifier in Jordan because of the players' Islamic outfits as an 'insult to all Muslims.'
Iran’s state-controlled Mehr news agency quoted the deputy head of the Iranian Football Federation, Farideh Shojaei, as saying that “the FIFA decision was an insult to all Muslims whose only aim was to show their (religious) belief in sports arenas. “
FIFA cancelled Friday's game in Amman and declared Jordan 3-0 winners after the Iranian authorities refused to have their players remove their headscarves and track suits. The garb differed from a headdress agreed earlier by Iran and FIFA that does not cover the players’ ears and neck.
Iran has filed an official complaint against the FIFA decision, saying the ban constituted a plot against the Islamic republic.
'FIFA which considers itself as a democratic international organization should explain about this discrimination,' Ms. Shojaei said.
Women in Iran are obliged to adhere in public to Islamic dress code and wear a hijab, a long gown and scarf that conceals body contours and hair.
FIFA rejected Iran’s protest, saying that Iran had been advised before the game that the hijab would not be allowed for security reasons. It said the decision by the Bahraini FIFA observer to cancel the game was in line with its laws and regulations.
FIFA bans religious symbols on the soccer pitch, but has conceded that Muslim women can cover their hair and wear long trousers instead of shorts.