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Iranian women's headdress yields forfeit
The Guardian, June 6th, 2011 1:24PM

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The Iranian soccer federation has filed a complaint with FIFA after its women's team forfeited an Olympic qualifying game against Jordan because the players' uniforms, which conform Islamic law, were deemed to violate FIFA standards. A full-body uniform that includes a head covering had been designed by the federation after a different version had been rejected by FIFA, and according to a federation official had already been used in matches.

"We made the required corrections and played a match afterwards," Farideh Shojaei said. "We played the next round and were not prevented from doing so, and they didn't find anything wrong. That meant that there are no obstacles in our path, and that we could participate in the Olympics."

FIFA rules for the 2012 Olympics state: "Players and officials shall not display political, religious, commercial or personal messages or slogans in any language or form on their playing or team kits." According to FIFA, the players' head covering is a traditional hijab, which covers the back of the head and neck as well as the scalp, and thus is a religious symbol.

The match referee and match commissioner decided minutes before kickoff to award the forfeit, by which Jordan wins, 3-0.

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