Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Referee Fired for Wearing Hijab

Wow, you can't make this stuff up.  Check out this news article.  Apparently, the Quebec Soccer Federation has upheld a local soccer association's decision to fire a teenage referee for wearing a religious head scarf while refereeing soccer.  The local association says they are "only following FIFA rules that say hijabs are a choking hazard."  Perhaps for players, but for the referee?  I looked on the FIFA site.  All I found was this article about an IFAB meeting.  At the bottom, you'll notice that the IFAB decided the hijab is addressed by Law 4 (Players equipment).  Obviously, this does not apply to referees.  What are your thoughts on this issue?  For me, I say she should be allowed to referee.  I don't see a problem.


Brian said...

I fully agree with the Quebec soccer federation's decision. You yourself have written many times about "proper referee uniform." That does not include any religious garments.

"Religious freedom" means individual choice, free from state influence, of the religion they wish to pursue. It however does not mandate that organizations have to make exceptions for that particular religion. Clearly this girl has made the decision to wear the hijab. She's also learning that, in life, our decisions may have unintended consequences.

The only flaw with the Quebec soccer federation's ruling is citing FIFA rules. As you correctly said, FIFA does not have any regulations regarding referee uniforms. Indeed, FIFA does not even mandate that the referees in a crew wear the same sleeve length! FIFA leaves referee uniforms up to the local federations. The general practice is that, for consistency, a referee must follow player uniform constraints EXCEPT for a watch, whistle, and writing instrument. Our state permits referees to wear a hat for exceptionally cold or sunny conditions, although said hat is black w/o any markings.

Just my opinion :)

Anonymous said...

It has been my understanding that referees are equipped similar to players, and only carry what is needed to perform their duties in that capacity. This is why ballcaps are frowned upon.

The Referee said...

Sorry folks, but I can't disagree more. I see no problem with a referee wearing a garment that is clearly connected to one's religious beliefs. Soccer is an inclusive sport. Guess what? I wear my wedding ring in every game. I don't see any problem with it and I think it is over bearing for an organization to make this an issue.