Saudi Crackdown on Footballers’ ‘Un-Islamic’ Hairstyles


Footballers in Saudi Arabia have been banned from a match due to their Qaza hairstyles. This is part of the country’s crackdown on “unIslamic hairstyles” in the sport.

The three players were prevented from playing in the match by Saudi Soccer Association officials.

According to Arabic news website Al Bawaba the football federation told clubs to “ban the Qaza phenomenon”, (using the Arabic term for a small Mohawk-like hairstyle popular among their athletes).

The decree, which went into effect on April 7, bans both Saudi and foreign players from sporting the style while playing in the kingdom.

The ban is supposedly inspired by one of the teachings of the Prophet Muhamed in the hadith – his book of sayings – which forbids Qaza hairstyles, which are defined as shaving part of your head but leaving other parts unshaven.

One commentator, writing in the Saudi newspaper Al-Jazirah on Friday, urged the football federation to “impose sanctions” on players whose “bizarre haircuts are imitated by their fans in schools”.

The hairstyle was originally banned in 2009 but enforcement has been intermittent.

In 2012, a goalkeeper for Al Shabab and Saudi Arabia’s national team, Waleed Abdullah, had to have his Qaza cut off by the referee before being allowed onto the pitch during a match in the capital Riyadh.