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French Senate votes to ban headscarves in sporting competitions

Members of Iran's Olympic team pose for selfies with two performers prior to a welcoming ceremony held at the athletes village of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 1, 2016. (AFP PHOTO/ED JONES)
Members of Iran's Olympic team pose for selfies with two performers prior to a welcoming ceremony held at the athletes village of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 1, 2016. (AFP PHOTO/ED JONES)

The French Senate votes in favor of banning the wearing of headscarves in sports competitions, arguing that neutrality is a requirement on the field of play.

The French upper legislative house votes in favor of amending a proposed law stipulating that the wearing “of conspicuous religious symbols is prohibited” in events and competitions organized by sports federations.

In their text, senators say the amendment aims at banning “the wearing of the veil in sports competitions.” They add that headscarves can put at risk the safety of athletes wearing it when they practice their discipline.

The amendment proposed by right-wing group Les Republicains and opposed by the French government is adopted with 160 votes in favor, and 143 against. A commission composed of members from the Senate and the lower house should now gather to find a compromise on the text before it is published, meaning the amendment can still be erased.

It is unclear whether the ban would be implemented for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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