Thursday, June 9, 2011

FIFA up to its old tricks

I'll keep this one short and sweet, because I'm honestly not surprised anymore to hear about maddeningly tone-deaf behavior coming from FIFA, on the heels of this, this, and this. But this latest item is still newsworthy, and in the interest of maintaining consistency with my previous viewpoints, here we go:
Not participating in the 2012 London Olympics is a nightmare for every serious athlete, but for the Iranian women’s soccer team the defeat was extra bitter after they were disqualified right before a crucial qualifying match because they wore Islamic headscarves.
Ready to play a crucial Olympic qualifying match with Jordan in Amman on Friday, the Iranian team was dismissed by officials of the international football association, FIFA. The officials decided just before the kickoff that the tight headscarves the Iranian players were wearing to cover their hair broke the association’s dress code, FIFA said on Monday.
After Jordan was awarded a 3-0 victory, Iran’s players took to the field crying, Press TV, Iranian state TV’s English-language outlet, reported.
In the Islamic Republic of Iran all women are obliged to cover their hair, neck, arms and legs according to the state’s interpretation of Shiite Islamic tenets. Female athletes who compete internationally have to obey the country’s dress code. Iranian women athletes have excelled during international events in sports such as karate and volleyball, but are notably absent from sports such as swimming and gymnastics.
“This ruling means that women soccer in Iran is over,” said Shahrzad Mozafar, the team’s former head coach. She said that now that FIFA is no longer allowing Iranian women to wear scarves, the Iranian government will no longer send them abroad for competitions. “Headscarves are simply what we wear in Iran,” she said.
Well-played, FIFA. You continue to set a new standard for missing the point.

[Washington Post]
(h/t Deadspin)

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