No restrictions on hijab in Paris 2024 Games’ athletes village: IOC

Olympic games

BERLIN (Reuters):  Athletes can wear a hijab in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games athletes’ village without any restriction, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Friday, days after France’s sports minister banned it for the host country’s athletes.

The Olympic body also said it needed to better understand the situation in France and had been in contact with the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF).

French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said on Sunday French athletes would be barred from wearing a hijab during the Paris Games to respect principles of secularism.

“For the Olympic Village, the IOC rules apply,” an IOC spokesperson said. “There are no restrictions on wearing the hijab or any other religious or cultural attire.”

The vast majority of the approximately 10,000 athletes at Olympic Games reside in apartments in the Olympic village and share common spaces, including dining halls and recreational areas.

“When it comes to competitions, the regulations set by the relevant International Federation (IF) apply,” the IOC spokesperson said.

The sports competitions at the Olympics are organised and overseen by the individual international sports federations.

There are 32 sports on the programme of the Paris Games.

Gender inequality will still be an issue at the Paris 2024 Olympics — despite the Games being gender-balanced

“Since this French regulation relates to the members of the French team only, we are in contact with the CNOSF to further understand the situation regarding the French athletes,” the spokesperson said.

Home to one of Europe’s largest Muslim minorities, France has implemented laws designed to protect its strict form of secularism, known as “laicité,” which President Emmanuel Macron has said is under threat from Islamism.

Some Muslim associations and human rights groups allege those laws have targeted Muslims, chipped away at democratic protections and left them vulnerable to abuse.

The French decision to bar its athletes from wearing a hijab was criticised by the United Nations human rights office this week.

Paris will host the Summer Olympics from July 26 to August 11 next year.

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