I am greatly saddened by the whole soccer head scarf debate surrounding one girl who wants to play. Playing is good and as we learn over and over FIFA is bad. It is not a difficult or even controversial statement. It is simply so. Feel good about thinking FIFA bad. Does anyone shed a tear for the Olympic Committee or any other private unelected mens’ clubs that organize sport to rake in personal privilege and benefit? It is only right and good to lump FIFA in and, frankly, place them up at the top of the lump.
Let us review some facts. Here is the essential part of the rule…sorry the law of football that is engaged in this case:
A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery).
All items of jewellery are potentially dangerous. The term dangerous can sometimes be ambiguous and controversial, therefore in order to be uniform and consistent any kind of jewellery has to be forbidden.
Players are not allowed to use tape to cover jewellery. Taping jewellery is not adequate protection.
Rings, earrings, leather or rubber bands are not necessary to play and the only thing they can bring about is injury.
You might be confused. You might be asking yourself what a rule about jewellery has to do with a head scarf. You would be right except this is the core prohibition in the rule being cited by FIFA:
Soccer’s legislators have ruled that no player can wear a head scarf on the field. The International Football Association Board was asked at its annual meeting Saturday to adjudicate on a decision to ban an 11-year-old Muslim girl from playing in a tournament near Montreal last weekend because she was wearing a head scarf. “If you play football there’s a set of laws and rules, and law four outlines the basic equipment,” said Brian Barwick, chief executive of the English Football Association, which is one of the IFAB members. “It’s absolutely right to be sensitive to people’s thoughts and philosophies, but equally there has to be a set of laws that are adhered to, and we favour law four being adhered to.” Law four lists the items a player is entitled to wear and head scarves are not mentioned.
That last sentence added by The Globe and Mail is not entirely true as Law Four goes on to state:
Modern protective equipment such as headgear, facemasks, knee and arm protectors made of soft, lightweight, padded material are not considered to be dangerous and are therefore permitted.
A headscarf is light, soft and in this instance one understands is protective of modesty according to the standards of the player. As her leggings are. By any reasonable understanding they are allowed. By any reasonable standard they are an entire non-issue.
But remember who you are dealing with. FIFA considers soccer players – you know…the people who play the game – as something between figures on paper and Subbueto players. Uniformity in uniform is about central control. This child might have been Amish or had a skin disease requiring covering. It just so happens that this one child is honouring her Islamic faith. It could as easily be any other thing. For FIFA that is not really important as she is fundamentally not acting FIFA-n. She is displaying unFIFA-like personal characteristic. That is anti-FIFA and that cannot be tolerated.
Why is this? First, FIFA wants to dominate world sport. To do this, there must be one game defined by one set of laws imposed by one bureaucracy. This means the other games to be driven out – it must be so if FIFA is to achieve the power and benefit that uniformity brings. We do not need to get to the level of cheese rolling or other local games or group play-like traditions. We just have to keep in mind there are many football games that sprung from the mid-19th century. When more organized games were formed between, say, 1850 and 1920, the lack of communication and the greater interest in the local meant no one worried that Gaelic football was different from Canadian rugger or from what has become Aussie rules. But FIFA now cares and cares very deeply as one of the forms of sub-global football, NFL style, has the notion of also being a global game. That must be stopped just as all other deviation must be stopped.
This is not about that keen young lady or her particular faith. It is about the primacy of the primates of FIFA. Hmmm…the phrase “the anti-Christs of play” just popped into my head for some reason. It is enough to say for now that FIFA is anti-play and therefore anti-KSPC. For that reason we shall be kicking a ball about this summer around here without any sidelines to which someone can tell me or mine to go sit. I expect it to be fun.