15-year old soccer player Iman Khalil of Spring Hill didn’t get in the game this weekend.
She said the referee made her to sit on the bench Saturday at a game in Palm Harbor because she refused to remove her head scarf.
“He looked at me and said you can’t play with the head scarf,” Khalil said.
Khalil, who is Muslim, wears a head scarf everywhere she goes, even on the soccer field.
The referee said her head covering was a violation of the rules and ordered her to remove it or sit out.
The decision shocked Khalil and her mother.
“We’ve never experienced anything like this before,” said Lisa Allen-Khalil, Iman’s Mother. “Iman’s been playing soccer for many years and what she wears is pretty consistent from one game to another.”
After the referee made his decision league officials told him the girl wasn’t breaking any rules and he should let her play but the referee refused.
According to US Soccer, players are only allowed to wear a standard uniform, like jerseys, shorts, shoes and anything extra is not allowed.
However, in 2002 they sent a memo stating that certain religions that require members to wear head coverings have permission to do so.
The referee may not have read the memo.
“Unfortunately, it was not available to the referee and he was not aware of it,” said Micheal Gann, Vice President of United Soccer Association.
According to a 2002 US Soccer memo, certain religions that require members to wear head coverings have permission to do so.
However, in 2002 they sent a memo stating that certain religions that require members to wear head coverings have permission to do so. . .
The local Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says it’s considering whether to file a discrimination complaint. (MORE)