Hijab in football: the Council of State denounces “attacks” against the independence of justice

In a rare clarification, by means of a press release, the Council of State “denounces Wednesday with the greatest firmness the attacks having targeted the administrative jurisdiction and especially the public rapporteur”.

These follow the holding of a hearing on Monday before the highest administrative court, which examined an appeal by the “Hijabeuses” against the French Football Federation (FFF) which prohibits them from playing veiled during competitions.

Neither “proselytism” nor “provocation”

During the hearing, the public rapporteur, who speaks the law and whose opinion is generally followed, recommended the cancellation of article 1 of the FFF regulations, which prohibits since 2016 “any wearing of a sign or holding ostensibly manifesting a political, philosophical, religious or trade union affiliation”, and asked that the Federation modify its regulations.

There is neither “proselytism” nor “provocation” in the mere wearing of the hijab, and no “requirement of neutrality” for players dismissed from the FFF, said the public rapporteur, however issuing a caveat for the players of the France team, who represent “the Nation”.

This recommendation triggered a wave of criticism, first from Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, then from the right and far right as a whole, who demanded that the government consider legislating on the issue if the Council of State had to follow the public rapporteur.

A decision made on Thursday

In its press release, the Council of State recalls that the role of the public rapporteur “is to expose publicly, and in complete independence, his analysis of the questions raised by the case under examination, and to propose a legal solution, in order to clarify the court formation, which alone rules on the dispute”.

“Challenging the functioning” of administrative justice, “is to attack an essential institution for democracy”, underlines the Council of State, which consequently “reserves the right to initiate proceedings in the event of insult, defamation, incitement to hatred, or threat”. Her decision on wearing the hijab in women’s football is due on Thursday.

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