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Jilong pleased with hijab progress

5 March 2012 09:38

The Asian Football Confederation's acting president Zhang Jilong has thanked football's law makers for reconsidering their hijab ban.

FIFA vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein presented the case to the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in London on Saturday and it was unanimously accepted by the eight members.

The final ratification of the law is expected to be completed on July 2.

Tests are underway to produce a hijab safe for playing, with previous concerns raised about choking and visibility.

"I thank the IFAB for doing the right thing," Jilong told the AFC website.

"This positive decision will remove all barriers and bring in more women players into the game."

Last year, the Iran women's national team forfeited an Olympic qualifier when match officials prevented them from wearing the garment.

Jilong also thanked Al Hussein for addressing the issue on behalf of female players worldwide.

"HRH (His Royal Highness) Prince Ali deserves my heartiest congratulations for the determined manner in which he took up cudgels on behalf of the women players who were stopped from playing football because they wore hijabs," he said.

"HRH Prince Ali convincingly proved that the hijab is more of a cultural symbol than a religious one."

"This is one more great, reformative measure under the leadership of (FIFA) President (Sepp) Blatter and will go a long way in popularising the game among women."

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