Minor soccer association lobbies to allow head scarf
The Calgary Minor Soccer Association is asking that a policy forbidding hijabs on the field be reversed, after a 14-year-old girl was asked to leave a game.
On Saturday, a referee told Safaa Menhem she could not play if she wore her hijab, a headscarf worn by some Muslim females in keeping with their belief of dressing modestly, because it posed a safety risk.
In a letter to their governing body, officials with the minor soccer association asked that hijabs be allowed. Daryl Leinweber said the association is trying to be inclusive and he hopes his provincial counterparts will do the same.
"There seems to be some confusion across Canada and across the various provinces in regards to the ruling on this. Some have exceptions to the rule, some do not," said Leinweber Tuesday.
"So we have requested the Alberta Soccer Association make a ruling and do that immediately in order to bring clarity to the issue around hijabs."
The Alberta Soccer Association said international soccer rules forbid headgear, from sweatbands to hijabs.
"If we have a player, challenging against this particular player that's wearing a hijab and they choose to grab the hijab and pull on it, it could cause abrasions, bruising or worse-case scenario, a broken neck," said Gary Roy, the association's referee development officer.
But Roy said Monday the group would consider sports-friendly versions of the hijab, which are not tied under the player's chin, if they were proven to be safe.
Soccer associations in B.C. and Ontario have already made exceptions for players to wear hijabs.