Finland's Football Association offers free sports hijabs

Finland's Football Association issues free hijabs to encourage diversity in the sport
2 min read
09 June, 2021
Dozens of free sports hijabs have been issued by Finland's Football Association to encourage greater diversity in the sport.
FIFA banned wearing a hijab in 2007, only lifting the ban in 2014 [Getty]

Finland's Football Association is offering free sports hijabs, in a bid to encourage more Muslim women and girls to take part in the game.

Dozens of headscarves have been distributed by the Finnish FA for the scheme, Heidi Pihlaja, the head of development of women and girls’ football. told AFP. 

"In Finland, it's been really hard to get girls of immigrant backgrounds into football clubs," Pihlaja said.

"So we wanted to start this initiative to welcome everyone, regardless of your religion and whether you want to use a scarf or not."

Nasro Bahnaan, a 13-year-old football player who wears the sports hijabs, told the agency that "it doesn't flap around as much as normal. It's easier to run in". 

The move to promote greater inclusion of Muslim women in the sport comes after the Finns Party, a right-wing populist party, steamed ahead in the polls before local elections later this month, according to Politico. 

The party is known for its strong anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant agenda. 

In the UK, wearing the hijab was banned by FIFA in 2007 but was lifted in 2014. 

Yasmin Abdullahi, founder of Sisterhood FC, one of the first football clubs for Muslim women in the UK, told the BBC in March: "It would be a dream come true to see a Muslim girl who wears a hijab play for England."