Top French Court Upholds Hijab Ban In Women’s Football


France’s top administrative court has upheld a ban on women football players wearing Islamic hijab headscarves, after the issue was seized on by politicians claiming secularism was at risk.

“Sporting federations whose task is to ensure the good functioning of public services… can impose a neutrality requirement on their players in competitions and sporting events, to guarantee the smooth running of matches and any clashes or confrontation,” the Constitutional Council said in a statement.

It found a French Football Federation (FFF) rule against “any sign or clothing clearly showing political, philosophical, religious or union affiliation” during play to be “appropriate and proportionate”.

A group of Muslim women footballers called the “Hijabeuses” had launched the action against the FFF regulation.

Judges found themselves under political pressure ahead of the ruling as mainstream parties look to fend off the far right riding high in the polls.

Secularism is a sensitive topic in France, presented by its defenders as a way of guaranteeing the state’s religious neutrality and by critics as a dog-whistle against ethnic and religious minorities, especially Muslims.

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