Newsdesk - FIFA Medical Chief U-turn on Hijabs; Valcke Praises Brazil 2014 Progress
July 2, 2012
Iranian girls donned special garb for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games tournament in Singapore (WFI)
(WFI) FIFA’s medical chief is withdrawing his opposition to headscarves worn by Muslim female footballers, according to an Associated Press report.
“The problems I had (with scarves) were medical, and I don’t have those problems anymore,” Michel D’Hooghe told AP, adding that such garments – known as hijabs – present no risk of strangulation.
His reversal arrives a month after he told FIFA’s medical conference that women who wear the scarves in matches could suffer head and neck injuries, or overheat.
While in Budapest, he also raised question marks around two designs – one produced by a Dutch company which uses quick-release velcro fasteners, the other by a Canadian firm that is based on a magnet system.
In his comments to AP over the weekend, D’Hooghe offered no hints as to what changed his mind.
Football's rule-making body, the International Football Association Board, is expected to approve the hijabs at a Thursday meeting in Zurich after lifting a ban "pending an accelerated review, of health and safety issues" at a meeting in London in March.
Any delay in IFAB’s approval of the scarves could have serious implications for teams taking part in the FIFA U17 Women's World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan this September.
Valcke Praises Brazil Progress
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says Brazil is upping the pace on preparations for the 2014 World Cup after a three-day visit to host cities Recife, Natal and Brasilia.
Jerome Valcke in good spirits leaving Brasilia's National Stadium (Getty Images)
“Most of the projects are going well," Valcke was quoted in an Associated Press report.
"Everybody is working harder and we are becoming better prepared to host the Confederations Cup and the World Cup."
He specifically cited Natal, notoriously one of the slowest of the dozen host cities to show progress so far, as an example of Brazil’s advances.
“We had the red light before, but now we've got the right colour again and the projects are on schedule,” Valcke said.
“So there are no concerns on our part, though we will continue to monitor the situation."
FIFA also revealed during Valcke’s stay that the World Cup draw is now slated for Costa do Sauipe in December 2013. The Confederations Cup draw is this December in Sao Paulo.
Turkish Match-Fixing Probe Yields Convictions
Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim is sentenced to six years and three months in prison as well as a fine of $729,000 for fixing matches in Turkey’s top division.
According to media reports from Turkey, former Giresunspor president Olgun Peker was among other suspects convicted Monday by a Turkish court.
Yildirim and the others were, however, free to go after the court following the time they already spent behind bars since the match-fixing allegations first threw the Turkish Football Federation into chaos last year. They forced the postponement of the Super Lig season and netted more than 80 footballers, journalists and club officials.
All 16 clubs caught up in the scandal were eventually cleared by the TFF two months ago.
By INSIDER's Matthew Grayson
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