Council of State Dismisses Appeal by Muslim Women Football Collective ‘Les Hijabeuses’ against French Football Federation’s 2016 Headscarf Ban.
France’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, issued a ruling on Thursday affirming the ban on Muslim women football players wearing headscarves or hijabs during matches.
The Council of State rejected the appeal filed by the collective of Muslim women footballers known as “Les Hijabeuses” against the decision of the French Football Federation (FFF) to enforce the headscarf ban implemented in 2016.
In its statement, the court determined that the FFF has the authority to enforce the first clause of its bylaws, which explicitly prohibits players from donning religious symbols, including headscarves, during matches.
According to the court, sports federations, responsible for the proper functioning of public service within their domain, possess the prerogative to impose outfit neutrality on their players during competitions.
The court emphasized that sports federations are bound by an “obligation of impartiality,” and individuals employed by these federations should refrain from expressing their personal beliefs and opinions.
To ensure the smooth and conflict-free conduct of football matches, the court ruled that the FFF has the right to incorporate the ban within the first article of its bylaws.
Consequently, women football players will be prohibited from wearing headscarves in FFF matches.
The statement further emphasized that the ban is deemed “appropriate” and “proportionate” in accordance with the court’s assessment.