Soccer….Family Style

Really FIFA? Really? FIFA rules Iran’s Women’s Team Uniforms Unacceptable
June 6, 2011, 11:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As a woman who has refereed and been a supporter of soccer since the early 90s, I’ve seen plenty of FIFA decisions come and go, but this is by far, the most offensive and ridiculous. The Iranian women’s football team was banned from playing an Olympic qualifier vs Jordan moments before the game, according to the Guardian.CO.UK. FIFA determined that their uniforms covered too much of their bodies to comply with the Laws of the Game.

The rule that this uniform supposedly violates states that “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.” Unless there’s some message printed across the back of these uniforms, I don’t see how this is broadcasting a religious message. It’s a simple covering that is in the same color as the rest of the kit.

It makes me sick to think that FIFA is taking any part in limiting the participation of women in soccer in any part of the world, but particularly in Iran. It has been my experience as a woman refereeing in theUS, that even in one of the most liberated countries in the world, there are still many challenges for equality for women. Knowing the discrimination I faced as a referee in theUS, I can only imagine what these women have had to go through to play inIran. For them to reach the level of Olympic qualifying, only to be turned back by a FIFA decision that approves of head coverings, just not that much head covering, is absurd, and should be deeply offensive to all fans of the game.

Let these women prove themselves on the field FIFA. Stop making trifling uniform decisions and allow this team of women to play on.

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