Girls will be allowed to play soccer while wearing traditional Muslim headscarves, the Alberta Soccer Association decided on Tuesday.
The group temporarily banned players from wearing headscarves on the pitch after a referee said a 14-year-old girl's hijab posed a safety risk and asked her to leave a game in Calgary last month.
After a review, the association said sports-type headscarves, which have Velcro straps that safely pull away from a player's neck, will be allowed on thefield as long as they have been inspected by the referee before any game begins.
'We were all very excited, and we can't wait until our next game.' —Amereen Chowdhury, Muslim soccer player
"We were relieved, and a weight was taken off our shoulders," said Amereen Chowdhury, who plays on a Muslim girls' team in Edmonton. "We were allvery excited, and we can't wait until our next game."
The Al-Ikhwat team missed three games of the regular season because of the temporary hijab ban. Half of the team's players wear headscarves.
"I don't think we need to apologize," said Ron Axelson, executive director of the ASA. "I think we took ... a reasonable and common-sense approach to this issue and resolved it in a fairly quick period of time."
The ASA had been following international soccer rules which forbid all headgear, including sweatbands.
In a news release Tuesday, it referenced a different rule by FIFA, soccer's world governing body, that allows headgear as long as it has been inspected and "determined not to be dangerous."
Soccer associations in B.C. and Ontario have already made exceptions for players to wear hijabs.