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Pakistan, Afghanistan Welcome Decision On Head Scarves

Zahra Mahmoodi (left), captain of the Afghan women's national soccer team, signs an Afghan-made soccer ball for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul last year.
Pakistani and Afghan sports officials have praised a decision by soccer's world governing body to lift a ban on female players wearing head coverings.

Officials say the decision will likely result in more Muslim females playing sports.

The president of the Asian Football Confederation, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, also welcomed the move.

He said that "women's football is still at the beginning stage in West Asia," but that following the head-scarf decision, more countries will send teams to international events.

The wearing of head scarves had been banned over concerns that players who wore them risked injury to their head or neck.

Testing of safer head-scarf designs began in 2012.

World soccer's governing body, FIFA, and the International Football Association Board on March 1 formally approved the use of head coverings.

Based on reporting by AFP