FIFA On Diversity: Feh!

by matttbastard 

Hey kid, fuck your religion – we have to follow teh rules!!!1:

Soccer’s global rulemakers have decided that no player can wear a head scarf on the field.

The International Football Association Board, which is the sport’s supreme rule-maker, was asked at its annual meeting today to rule on a decision to ban an 11-year-old Muslim girl from playing in a tournament in Laval, Que., last weekend because she was wearing a head scarf.

“If you play football there’s a set of laws and rules, and law 4 outlines the basic equipment,” said Brian Barwick, chief executive of the English Football Association, which is one of the board’s members. “It’s absolutely right to be sensitive to people’s thoughts and philosophies, but equally there has to be a set of laws that are adhered to, and we favour law 4 being adhered to.”

One would hope that FIFA would offer a better reason for disallowing the wearing of hijabs during competitive soccer games than ‘rules are rules’ or ‘you’ll put your eye out’. Instead, the ruling global soccer body has responded with hollow pedantry, joining Quebec Premier Jean Charest in embracing a headscarf-free soccer pitch without explaining why the hijab poses a threat to player safety.

Refreshingly, the coach and team mates of young Asmahan Mansour, the 11 year old player who was forced to leave during a February 25th tournament in Laval, Quebec after a referee determined her hijab violated Law 4, are not backing down:

“Obviously, it’s a disappointing decision. It’s very difficult for us as a team,” coach Louis Maneiro told CBC News.

“I, for one, am in agreement that there have to be rules to protect the children,” he said.

“If it had been a safety issue and the referee could clearly demonstrate that was the case then I wouldn’t have had any problem with that. I hope Quebec can see that.”

After Mansour was ejected from the game on Feb. 25, her team withdrew from the tournament saying they won’t come back until the rules are changed.

“I just hope that one day Quebec will change the rules and I’ll be able to play,” Mansour told CBC News.

“I’m just hoping that any girl with the hijab does not go through what I went through.”

Columnist and radio talk show host John Moore hits the salient point:

Like most dust-ups over integration, 11-year-old Azzy Mansour’s hijab is not the issue. Her “otherness” is. Visual signs of otherness have always been a threat to North Americans. With each successive wave of immigration to our shores there have been complaints about the failure of one group or another to abandon their customs, language and traditional clothing. From the Chinese who laboured on the railways through the Russians, Italians, Ukrainians, south Americans, Vietnamese and now Arabs and south Asians, there has been a malaise in the established community that we’re verging on the tipping point of fundamentally changing what it is to be a North American.