KIEV, Ukraine FIFA's medical experts have eased their opposition to the ban on Muslim footballers' hijab, boosting Muslim female footballers' hopes to compete in international competitions while donning their hijab.
The problems I had [with scarves] were medical, and I don't have those problems anymore, said Michel D'Hooghe, the head of FIFA's medical committee, Goal.com website reported on Friday, June 29.
There is no risk of strangulation. I was asked for a medical opinion, and the discussions I had were purely medical."
The new decision followed earlier opposition expressed last May by FIFA's medical experts to Muslim footballers' hijab.
Headscarves were banned from FIFA competitions in 2007.
Last March 2012, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) allowed women players to wear the hijab, a decision to be ratified later in its meeting next July.
Later on, they asked for further medical advice.
Giving FIFA the medical approval for hijab, D'Hooghe insisted that veiled Muslim footballers must still meet football's rules regarding player equipment.
Those aspects are the uniformity of players' equipment and the idea of religious and political statements, he said.
That is a discussion for other people.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.
In April 2010, FIFA announced that it was planning to ban the Muslim headscarf and other religious outings during the 2012 London Olympics.
Last year, Iran women's football team were prevented from playing their 2012 Olympic second round qualifying match against Jordan because they refused to remove their hijabs before kickoff.
Iran, who had topped their group in the first round of Olympic qualifiers after going undefeated, were given 3-0 defeats as a penalty which abruptly ended their dreams of qualifying for the London Olympics.