Finland's FA offers free sports hijab

9/30/2021 1:10 AM
Finnish girls wearing free hijab provided by Football Association of Finland

Finland's football association has offered a sports hijab for free to those that want one whilst playing.

The move is designed to promote inclusivity and make everyone feel welcome, to boost diversity in the 'beautiful game'. 

The Football Association of Finland (FAF) has given out dozens of headscarves made out of stretchy fabric, to young players, in a move that has "a symbolic importance" for making the sport more accessible. 

Heidi Pihlaja, head of development of women and girls' football, says the Football Association started the initiative to boost diversity and equality.

"In Finland, it's been really hard to get girls of immigrant backgrounds into football clubs," Pihlaja said. "So we wanted to start this initiative to welcome everyone, regardless of your religion and whether you want to use a scarf or not."

"We support every woman's right to choose themselves whether they use a scarf or not," Pihlaja said. "Where they want to use it, we want to show that they are welcome and that the headscarf isn't an obstacle."

Nasro Bahnaan Hulbade and her teammate Kamila Nuh, who have been playing for one and two years, respectively, said they were happy to find out from their parents about the free headscarves.

"It doesn't flap around as much as normal, and you don't need to tuck it into your shirt," 13-year-old Nasro Bahnaan Hulbade said. 

"It's easier to run in it," said her teammate Kamila Nuh. 

This month, Finland's men will make their debut appearance at UEFA Euro 2020, while the country's women's team has also, for the first time, qualified for the finals of the UEFA Women's Euro 2022. Read more about the top 10 Muslim players to watch during the Euros 2020.