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'Islamic headscarves ban ruling means that women's soccer in Iran is over'

June 8, 2011 - Tehran

The decision to disqualify the Iranian women's soccer team from participating in a qualifying match for the 2012 London Olympic Games over objections raised against their headscarves could mean that 'women's soccer in the country is over', the team's former coach has said.

The team was scheduled to play an Olympic qualifying match against Jordan last Friday, but officials of the international football association, FIFA, disqualified the team because the players' Islamic headscarves violated the association's dress code, Fox News reports.

"This ruling means that women soccer in Iran is over," Shahrzad Mozafar, the team's former head coach, said, adding that the Iranian government would never permit women participate in competitions abroad if they cannot wear headscarves.

Special headscarves were designed for the Iranian team after FIFA announced in April 2010 that it planned to ban headscarves in the Olympics, despite being 'thoroughly informed' about the decision.

The Islamic dress code observed in Iran requires all women to cover their bodies, head to toe, and female athletes who compete abroad are bound follow the dress code.

Prince Ali of Jordan, a FIFA vice president who officially took office on Wednesday, however assured that he would try to get the headscarf ban lifted.

"Football is about fair play and respect and I am confident that we can resolve this issue," he said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinjead, who slammed FIFA for imposing the ban, also backed Ali, saying: "These are the dictators and colonialists who want to impose their lifestyle on others. Ahmadinejad said in a news conference, according to The National. We will deal with those who carried out this ugly job. We follow definite rights of our girls."


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