Iranian President Slams FIFA For Headscarf Ban

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 1:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called members football's world governing body “dictators” for a headscarf ban that prevented Iran's women's football team from playing in an Olympic qualifier match.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said Tuesday he has asked the country's sports chief to follow up on the case with FIFA, the ruling body for international football .

On Friday, FIFA canceled a 2012 Olympic qualifier match between Jordan and Iran because Iranian authorities refused to let their women's team play without Islamic headscarves, or hijabs. The Iranian forfeit gave Jordan an automatic victory to advance.

FIFA defended its decision Tuesday, saying Iranian officials were “informed thoroughly” about the ban before Friday's match.

FIFA banned hijabs in 2007 for safety reasons. In the 2010 Youth Olympics, Iran's girls team worked around the ban by covering their hair with specially designed caps.

Iranian media say the head of Iran's Football Federation has sent a letter to the FIFA president calling for the canceled match to be rescheduled.