Statement regarding safe headscarf in football

Geneva, July 06, 2012: Headscarf, I welcome and strongly support the recent decision made by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to allow female players to wear safe headscarves during FIFA-regulated matches and competitions.

I would like to commend the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA’s Vice-President, HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, for their leadership and commitment in bringing about such positive change.

This decision is a significant step forward towards greater and fairer access to sport.

It sends out the important message that each and every person in the world, from the top elite level down to the grassroots, has the right to take part in physical and sports activities and to enjoy the many benefits that such participation can bring.

Of course, much more remains to be done to fully achieve gender equality on and off the field of play. Negative gender stereotypes still need to be challenged; barriers to equality and inclusion still need to be broken down; mentalities still need to evolve for the better.

Thanks to the decision taken yesterday by IFAB, millions of girls and women around the world wearing a headscarf will have the freedom to participate in football activities.

Access to sport is a right for all, regardless of gender, race, ability, age, culture or religious beliefs.

Let us keep mobilizing the unique power of sport in order to help women and girls worldwide realize their full potential.

About the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace:

Mr. Wilfried Lemke, of Germany, was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as his Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace on 11 April 2008, serving on a $1 per year salary with the rank of Under-Secretary-General. In this role, the Special Adviser aims to reach out further to the world of sport and more systematically and coherently encourage the use of sport the pursuit of development cooperation, humanitarian aid and peace-building efforts. —- UNOSDP

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