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Will France give in to veiled footballers?

Will France give in to veiled footballers?
08/07/2022

Will France give in to veiled footballers?

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It was to fear.Almost ten years ago, the International Football Federation (FIFA) ceded to the Gulf monarchies by authorizing the wearing of the veil in international competitions.Many of us raised against this questioning of the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter (article 50.2) and the "laws of the game" of football (law 4), which prohibit any political or religious demonstration in sport.We had praised the reaction of the French football bodies, deciding to maintain the ban on the wearing of the veil on the national territory and for our "blue".But here is a collective called "the hidjabeuses" seized the Council of State in order to obtain the cancellation of the said federal regulation and the right to play veiled.Heavy responsibility for the wise men of the Palais-Royal, who would probably have gone well to have to decide a much more political, even philosophical, than legal question.

Let's look at things a little closer.Why prohibit political or religious demonstrations in the sports area?Because our ancestors had a dream, which was perpetuated to us.A dream of universality that wants everyone on the planet, from north to south and from east to west, we played the same game and be subject to the same rules.A dream of neutrality that preserves the playground from political, religious, union or other quarrels, thus contributing to peace between peoples and communities.A dream of equality, which abolishes the space of a magical instant any notion of race, religion or social condition, for the sole benefit of sporting performance.Finally, a dream where our sisters would enjoy dignity equal to that of our brothers.

Why so break the "laws of the law"?

However, the veil, the hidjab, the Chador, the burkini, whatever the name given to it, is not a simple piece of fabric.It is the ostentatious manifestation, not only of a religious affiliation, but also and above all of a desired separation between women and men and an explicit submission from the former to the latter.The stadium, the swimming pool, the sea, all these spaces intended for the freedom, the game and the emancipation of the bodies, will they become those of the promotion of sexual apartheid and the enslavement of women?

La France va-t-elle céder aux footballeuses voilées ?

Reading Aussides activists claim the right to wear hidjab in women's football

We would certainly need solid reasons to break the sports "laws" and forget our principles.Supporters of wearing the veil first argued that it is not a religious sign, but "cultural", therefore escaping the ban posed by the Olympic Charter and "Law 4".The argument would ready to smile if it had not been, against all odds, retained by FIFA ten years ago ... Land-sleight or pun, as we want, because it is clear that "hidjabeusesThey themselves explicitly claim the right to wear the veil as a sign of their religious convictions and not their cultural traditions.

More seriously, the supporters of the veil stress that such a measure would open the football door to young Muslim girls who could not play differently.Thus, far from enslaving them, wearing the veil would contribute to their emancipation ... The paradox is only apparent and the argument deserves consideration.Should we refuse the benefits of football to a young girl because she wants to play veiled?Thus asking the question inevitably guides the answer to a resigned acceptance of the Hidjab.And yet, we refuse to resolve ourselves!We do not accept that women are thus placed in parole.

A shameful disavowal to all those who fought for equality

When sacred principles are involved, such as the non-discrimination and dignity of women, is not preferable to resignation, firmness to compromise?It is this courage that Muslim Pioneers of female sport, like the Moroccan Nawal El Moutawakel or the Algerian Hassiba Boulmerka who ran without veil, showed.Legitimizing today the wearing of the veil in sport would inflict a shameful disavowal to all those who have fought for years for equality, sometimes at the risk of their lives, and those who continue to do so.It would be abandoning young girls who wish to emancipate themselves in their fight against family and social pressure.

And will we see men tomorrow evolve on the grounds by carrying the kippah, the turban or the cross of the Templiers?By accepting that religious symbols be recognized in the stadium, France would give up the universal dream of a sport preserved from ideological, religious or political conflicts;It would run the red carpet with communitarisms of all hairs, aggravating the fractures that undermine our society.

Faced with such a threat, the public authorities could, without glory, rely on the arbitration of the Council of State.They could especially legislate to consolidate national sports federations in their fight for the neutrality of sport.This is the wish of the senators led by Michel Savin around the bill n ° 273 tabled on December 8 (1).It’s also ours.

(1) Bill proposal to ensure respect for the principles of secularism in sport, presented by MM.Michel Savin, Bruno Retailleau and Mme Jacqueline Eustache-Brinio

Annie Sugier is president of the League for International Women's Law.Frédéric Thiriez is former president of the Professional Football League and Linda Weil-Curiel is a lawyer and secretary general of the LDIF