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France to maintain headscarf ban

The French Football Federation (FFF) has upheld its ban on players wearing headscarves or turbans despite an International Board ruling allowing them.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) ended a two-year trial period last month by granting both male and female players permission to wear specially-made head coverings in competitive games.

In a statement, the FFF explained that it "had taken note of the ruling," but that the IFAB also gave national associations a free hand in enforcing it, and so, in line with the French state's strictly secular structure, the FFF would uphold its own ban.

"As for the participation of French national teams in international competition on the one hand, and the organisation of national competitions on the other, the French Football Federation reiterates its concern for the respect of the constitutional and legislative secular principles that prevail in our country and figure in the statutes," the statement read. "Under those conditions, it maintains its ban on all religious or denominational signs."

Following the IFAB meeting in Switzerland, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke had welcomed the move and added a request from Canada's Sikh community meant male players can also wear head coverings when playing as long as they are the same colour as their strips.

Asia's FIFA vice-president, Prince Ali Bin Hussein of Jordan, was a driving force behind the IFAB ruling with Asian football officials saying it would give more Muslim girls the opportunity to take up the sport.

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