Muslim girl banned from soccer game for wearing headscarf
Officials with the United Soccer Association have apologized to a Muslim girl who was sidelined from a soccer game in Florida on Saturday when a referee mistakenly ruled that her headscarf violated league regulations.
CNN's Florida affiliate reports that 15 year old Iman Khalil was kept out of the game even after league officials told the referee that her headscarf was acceptable. Regulations prescribe a standard uniform, but a 2002 memo explicitly allows objects such as head coverings to be worn for religious purposes.
League Vice President Michael Gann explained, "The referees are expected to make discretionary calls. Unfortunately, sometimes they stick too far to the letter of the rule."
"I never thought I'd have to deal with that kind of thing in soccer," said Khalil. She also stated, "I felt really bad because I felt like I sort of let the team down."
The following video clips are from CNN's Newsroom and WFTV 9 News, broadcast on October 15, 2007.