Muslim headscarves campaign given boost by Fifa medical committee

Chairman Michel D'Hooge has revealed that his fears over the safety of such headwear have been allayed, and a vote on the issue is expected in Zurich next week
Fifa's medical committee has withdrawn its opposition to a campaign fighting for female Muslim players to be allowed to wear religious headscarves during matches.

Headscarves were banned from Fifa competitions for safety reasons in 2007 but the decision making panel - the International Football Association Board (IFAB) - asked for further medical advice in March.

This change in tact from Michel D'Hooghe, the medical committee's chairman, is a key step prior to a meeting of Fifa's law-making body in Zurich next week.

D'Hooghe had previously said that headscarves ''represented a danger'' to players, arguing that they could sustain head and neck injuries, or overheat.

However, the Belgian has now stated he would no longer object to their use after "more discussions" in recent weeks.

D'Hooghe told The Associated Press: ''The problems I had [with scarves] were medical, and I don't have those problems anymore.

''There is no risk of strangulation. I was asked for a medical opinion, and the discussions I had were purely medical."

Whilst headscarves may have been given the medical green light, D'Hooghe insisted that they must still meet football's rules regarding player equipment.

He added: ''Those aspects are the uniformity of players' equipment and the idea of religious and political statements. That is a discussion for other people.''

The IFAB panel, which includes the four British associations, will vote on the issue next Thursday. Six votes are needed for a rule change with an association having one vote each.