France: Prefecture of Police Tries to Suppress Women Footballers’ Protest against Lawmakers’ Latest Attempt to Undermine Muslim Women in Sport

Supporters of the women soccer team “Les Hijabeuses” gather in front of the city hall in Lille as part of a protest as French Senate examines a bill featuring controversial hijab ban in competitive sports in France, February 16, 2022. The slogan reads “Sport for all”. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
This collective of women footballers planned to mobilise against an amendment proposed by the Sénat that would reinforce in law an existing French Football Federation (FFF) policy that prohibits women who choose to wear headscarves from participating in competitive matches.

An Administrative Tribunal appeal decision issued on 9 February overturned the Paris Prefecture of Police’s ban on a protest organised by women footballers, confirming that the protest should have been able to proceed as planned. The protest organizers had already called off the event in light of the police ban and the Tribunal’s ruling came too late for the protest to take place. The fact that the protest was effectively prevented due to an unlawful ban, which was based on reasoning informed by stigmatising stereotypes, is particularly shameful.