KEIR RADNEDGE in Budapest: Time is running out for campaigners who had hoped to see the headscarf approved for use in mainstream women’s football by the International Football Association Board on July 2.
Back in March the board’s annual meeting – on the urging of Prince Ali of Jordan – agreed to sanction the use of the headscarf provided that the safety aspects met the approval of FIFA’s medical committee.
However concern has grown among its supporters that the schedule had been thrown of course by a negative reaction of medical committee members at a meeting in Amman, Jordan.
Subsequently manufacturers from Holland and Canada had been asked to go back to the drawing board over the fastenings, one of them a Velcro attachment.
The issue will resurface for a definitive ruling at a special meeting of the International Board in Kyiv on July 2, the day after the Euro 2012 final. Simultaneously, goal-line technology could also be approved.
Michel D’Hooghe, Belgian chairman of FIFA’s medical committee, clarified the latest state of play after the second day of a major FIFA medical conference in the Hungarian capital.
He said: “We received some samples and every doctor, including some from Muslim countries, said this represented a danger. For example, when a girl is running at speed someone can catch the headscarf and that can lead to head lesions.
“Secondly, there is the issue of temperature. A human being loses 90pc of body heat via the head so a headscarf creates a higher temperature.
“Thirdly, on either side of the neck are the carotid arteries and, as armies know, pressure can cause serious medical problems.”
D’Hooghe said that industry representatives “promised to bring us new proposals and we are awaiting these in the coming days.”
He added: “Once these are received and if we think they are OK then that will be medically OK as well but, of course, the decision itself is not up to us but up to the International Board.”
D’Hooghe said that he and Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer, could decide between themselves whether the new, improved headscarfs were medically safe. They also had other medical advisers on hand.
Time would not be wasted through the need to summon a formal meeting of the committee.
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