France’s Top Court Supports Ban on Hijab in Soccer Matches, Deems It ‘Appropriate’

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The Council of State, France’s top court, issued its ruling on the ban on hijab in soccer matches after “Les Hijabeuses,” a collective of headscarf-wearing soccer players, campaigned against the ban and initiated legal action.

“Les Hijabeuses,” a collective of headscarf-wearing soccer players, actively campaigned against the ban on hijabs in soccer matches. (Photo: India Today)

France’s highest administrative jurisdiction, the Council of State, ruled that the country’s soccer federation is within its rights to ban headscarves in matches.

The decision came after a group of headscarf-wearing soccer players, known as “Les Hijabeuses,” campaigned against the ban and took legal action. Despite FIFA’s recommendations allowing headscarves in international competitions, the French soccer federation maintains the ban.

The Council of State justified the ban by stating that sports federations can enforce clothing regulations to ensure smooth matches and prevent conflicts, considering it appropriate and proportionate.

France’s Council of State went against the recommendations of its public rapporteur and upheld the ban on headscarves in soccer matches. The ban is outlined in Article 1 of the federation’s rules, which prohibits the wearing of religious symbols during matches and competitions. It remains uncertain whether the ban will be enforced during the upcoming Paris Olympics.

The rapporteur had argued that religious symbols were already present in soccer, such as players crossing themselves before games. French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin expressed his opposition to hijab-wearing during sports competitions, emphasizing the need for religious neutrality in sports.

Previously, right-wing senators attempted to extend the ban to all sports competitions but were unsuccessful. The controversy surrounding the ban is part of a broader effort by President Emmanuel Macron’s administration to combat radicalization and promote French values. Critics see the law as a political maneuver ahead of the presidential election.

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Toshika Chauhan

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