Asian soccer urges sport’s rule makers to OK hijab

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Asian Football Confederation has urged soccer’s rule-making body to approve a headscarf with safety features for use by Islamic female players.

AFC acting chief Zhang Jilong said in a statement Monday a favorable decision when the International Football Association Board debates the issue on March 3 in London is crucial to the future of women’s soccer worldwide.

He said new headscarves are available with a Velcro opening at the neck to ensure players’ safety.

FIFA banned the hijab or headscarf in 2007 for safety reasons, a move condemned by Islamic leaders and sports officials.

While FIFA is soccer’s world governing body, the IFAB determines the rules of the game.