Referee chops Saudi football star's 'un-Islamic' haircut

Referee chops Saudi football star's 'un-Islamic' haircut
2 min read
11 April, 2016
Saudi footballer Waleed Abdullah was ordered to chop off his 'un-Islamic' hair minutes before a domestic match kicked off on Saturday, due to new rules against unorthodox hairstyles.
Waleed Abdullah was rebuked by match officials for his 'un-Islamic' haircut [AFP]

A Saudi Arabian football game was held up on Saturday as a player was given a pre-match trim on the sidelines by match officials.

The Saudi national team's goalkeeper, Waleed Abdullah, was ordered to snip off his Mohawk haircut just minutes before he was due to man the nets for al-Shabab in a clash with al-Hilal.

A video emerged showing the referee and a team mate cutting off Abdullah's hair on the side-lines of the match after unsuccessfully negotiating with officials to spare his haircut.

It comes after the Saudi football association introduced a bizarre new rule banning footballers from sporting "un-Islamic" haircuts.

Saudi Arabia's youth federation has ordered sports officials to deal with "the qazaa phenomenon", which refers to unorthodox haircuts, according to Aaradiyah website.

Waleed Abdullah pleads with the referee to allow him to play [YouTube]

Clearly, Abdullah's Mohawk didn't make the cut.

Football is hugely popular in Saudi Arabia, and its domestic league is said to be one of the best in the Arab world.

But the sport is also controversial, with some hardline religious leaders believing football to be "un-Islamic".

Women are banned from stadiums and have not been allowed to play sports in schools until recently. In 2012, Saudi women played their first Fifa-recognised football match, although a women's national team still does not officially "exist".

In 2014, a Saudi cleric denounced "sports fanatacism" but football remains hugely popular among young Saudis.