TEHRAN: Iran will complain to world soccer’s governing body FIFA after its women’s team were banned from a qualifying game for next year’s Olympics due to their Islamic dress, the ISNA news agency reported on Sunday.
The Iranian team were banned from a match against Jordan shortly before the game was due to start in Amman on Friday, Iran’s state-run Press TV reported.
“We will file a complaint to FIFA against the official in charge of the matches,” Ali Kafashian, head of Iran’s football federation, was quoted as saying by the student news agency ISNA.
The row over what Iran’s women players are allowed to wear has been brewing for more than a year. FIFA banned the team last April due to their plan to wear headscarves, in accordance with the Islamic dress code which requires all women in Iran to cover their hair in public.
The Iranian federation made changes to the kit and believed it had reached an acceptable compromise.
A photograph issued by Press TV showed players at Friday’s match in white tracksuits and head coverings that concealed their hair and ears, kneeling around the Iranian flag on the pitch.
“Although it has been said in FIFA’s regulations that no country can play with Islamic dress, we had necessary negotiations with FIFA officials,” Kafashian said.
“Unfortunately, I do not know why the Bahraini official in charge of the matches refused to let our team play.”