A HARROW-based charity that promotes women's sport has welcomed the decision to lift the ban on football players wearing religious head coverings such as the hijab.

The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA)'s International Football Association Board (IFAB) voted on Saturday to relax the law relating to players' equipment to allow participants to use turbans, and veils from June 1 providing that adhere to design and safety standards, such as being the same colour as the shirt.

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South Harrow's Rimla Akhtar, chairwoman of Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation, based in Station Road, Harrow, said: "It has taken a number of years of campaigning on behalf of all faith communities to ensure that common sense prevailed.

"FIFA states that its promise is to ensure that football is a game for everyone across the world and this ban was clearly antithetical to this promise.

"We are pleased that FIFA have recognised specifically that the hijab is a religious choice and that faith and people of faith are welcome in the football world.

"It was particularly fitting that news of this decision came to us during our recent Futsal Festival, where a number of Muslim women from across the UK were taking part in a two-day event supported by the FA at St George’s Park (the English national teams' training base).

"We would like to thank all individuals and groups who have worked hard with us to ensure that FIFA overturned the ban."

The IFAB decision came after a two-year pilot on allowing head covers.

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