Québec Soccer Federation Finally Allowing Hijab on Pitch

Finally, the Québec Soccer Federation has agreed to allow hijab on the soccer pitch. The ruling commission of International Football IFAB (International Football Association Board) had already agreed to reconsider the 2007 ban in July 2012. They further confirmed in November 2012 that they approved a prototype by Resport On by designer Ilham Sayyed from Montreal.

This is an important development for soccer in Canada and for Women and girls in Sport.
It cuts to the root of exclusion and discrimination on the pitch in .
Unlike Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and most other Canadian provinces with solid soccer traditions, Québec was one of the only provinces that waited for so long and for preliminary IFAB approval to allow players to wear headscarves.
Initially, the issue of hijab youth soccer was thrust into media attention when Azmahan Mansour of Ottawa was visiting Québec for a football tournament and was told to take off her hijab for safety reasons.
Mansour had never had issues playing with hijab in her home province of Ontario.
Her coach withdrew from the tournament in protest, as did four other teams.
Conversely, a spokesperson from Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) stated that "there is no official rule barring girls from wearing hijab". But each province has their own regulating body and is not required to defer to CSA.
(Asmahan Mansour 2007)

What ensued was FIFA declaring that the final say would be up to the officials as there was no specific law banning hijab specifically. QSF embraced this and advised Referees accordingly. Most of whom would not let players play in headgear.
In football, a referee's decision is final. It can not be appealed if it is made in clear judgement and the referee has strong precedent  to make the call.
In Mansour's case, the referee who barred her was Muslim (non hijab-wearing) causing more confusion for those trying to grasp the situation.
Following the heartbreak of the Iranian Women's team who were disqualified from qualifying matches for London 2012 Olympics as for playing wih hijab, In early 2012, Prince Ali Bin Hussein the FIFA vice-President representing Asia, presented a prototype hijab that would satisfy medical requirements of IFAB in order to allow women and girls in hijab to play safely.
This initiative was also supported by the Association of Professional Football Players (FIFPro). Read their statement: http://www.fifpro.org/news/news_details/1857
IFAB agreed to lift the ban and more consideration of the hijab pending approval by a medical team. A welcome and incredible event in the lives of so many women and girls footballers.
And the rest was history.
Except in Québec.
The French in  have been accused of xenophobia with regards to their policies and "values". Including allowing any type of religious headgear on the pitch, including sikh turbans as well as another highly ill-timed case of ejecting a 9 year-old player with  hijab just days after IFAB's initial decision to consider a Resport-On design.
Sadly the issue of  said “values” not only translated to exclusion for players but for referees as well. In 2011, a qualified referee was told she could not officiate because of her hijab in Québec.
A member of Parti Québecois (at the time the ruling party in Québec) publicly stated: "Religious freedom exists, but there are other values. For instance, multiculturalism is not a Québec value. It may be a Canadian one, but it is not a Québec one."
Similarly, across the Atlantic ocean, France seems to agree with it's descendants in Canada. Although IFAB lifted the hijab ban, the French Football Federation (FFF) also declared they would be upholding the hijab-ban for their players "in the name of universal and republican values".
That QSF has now relented and will allow girls and women in headscarves to participate is a huge victory considering the immense and heated debate over "reasonable accommodation" in the province.
Now that there is a solution to include women and girls into competitive and recreational levels of play in Québec, which has always carried a strong development program for children and youth, the result is inevitable: "More children will play".
That is a win for the players, clubs, officials and the beautiful game.  

originally published: http://footybedsheets.tumblr.com/post/45031122668/quebec-soccer-federation-finally-allowing-hijab-on