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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 02/03/2014
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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Football's world governing body FIFA yesterday officially authorised the wearing of head covers for religious purposes during matches

"It was decided that female players can cover their heads to play," said FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke at a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the sport's lawmakers, in Zurich

That will allow female muslim players who wear a veil in everyday life to cover their heads during matches, and Valcke added that male players will also be authorised to do so following a request from the Sikh community of Canada

"It was decided that male players can play with head cover too," he said, although they will not be the same as those worn day to day

"It will be a basic head cover and the colour should be the same as the team jersey.

The wearing of head covers had been banned until 2012, with FIFA saying that they posed too great a risk of injury to the head or neck

However, the IFAB then allowed for them to be tested out over a two-year period following a request from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), a trial which proved to be successful

"It's a worldwide authorisation," said Valcke, who confirmed that the hosting of the 2016 women's under-17 World Cup by the Arab kingdom of Jordan played a part in the authorisation being introduced

"It was a plus for them to have authorisation from the IFAB for women to be able to play (wearing head covers). It was a request from these (muslim) countries that said it would help support women's football there.

Meanwhile, FIFA has been left with a huge challenge following Brazilian delays in building stadiums for the 2014 Valcke said yesterday.

"We are working in conditions where the cement is not even dry," Valcke told reporters as Tuesday's 100-days-to-kickoff milestone approaches

"We still have to install all the IT solutions for the media. Without IT and without the telecommunications in place in the stadium you will say we are the worst organisers and it was the worst event

"But to install the IT in a stadium, it needs at least 90 days and we have to work for all the people who have an interest, our commercial partners, our media partners, hospitality......

"The ball starts rolling on June 12 until July 13 and I think things will work well then but it is also true that whenever you receive something late, it becomes a challenge to make it ready in time," Valcke added

"I am not a World Cup specialist but I will say this has not been easy for sure," he told reporters gathered after a meeting of the annual International Football Association Board, the game's law-making meeting

"We are almost at 100 days before the first game starts in a stadium in Sao Paulo which is still not ready and won't be ready until May 1


The Peninsula

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