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FOOTBALL

FIFA authorize veils and turbans during matches

Football's world governing body FIFA on Saturday officially authorised the wearing of head covers for religious purposes during matches.

"It was decided that female players can cover their heads to play," said FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke at a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the sport's lawmakers, in Zurich.

That will allow female muslim players who wear a veil in everyday life to cover their heads during matches, and Valcke added that male players will also be authorised to do so following a request from the Sikh community of Canada.

"It was decided that male players can play with head cover too," he said, although they will not be the same as those worn day to day.

"It will be a basic head cover and the colour should be the same as the team jersey."

The wearing of head covers had been banned until 2012, with FIFA saying that they posed too great a risk of injury to the head or neck.

However, the IFAB then allowed for them to be tested out over a two-year period following a request from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), a trial which proved to be successful.

"It's a worldwide authorization," said Valcke, who confirmed that the hosting of the 2016 women's under-17 World Cup by the Arab kingdom of Jordan played a part in the authorisation being introduced.

"It was a plus for them to have authorization from the IFAB for women to be able to play (wearing head covers). It was a request from these (muslim) countries that said it would help support women's football there."

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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