International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 28, Issue 2, Fall 2014

Douglas W. McLaughlin, Cesar R. Torres
Pages 353-372

A Veil of Separation
Intersubjectivity, Olympism, and FIFA’s Hijab Saga

The Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup are large international mega-events that demonstrate how highly valued sport is around the world. However, alongside the celebrations of sporting excellences is the opportunity to reflect upon and criticize the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the host cities for ethical concerns that often accompany these events. One recent example is FIFA’s decision to ban women’s soccer players from wearing hijabs. Yet the IOC has encoded in its own charter ethical and axiological mandates that it terms Olympism. This Olympic philosophy can be fruitfully understood as an intersubjective moral approach to sport and sport governance. So conceived, it can be used to gain clarity on FIFA’s decision, both in terms of its ethical decision-making process and its conclusions. While FIFA recently lifted the ban, concerns about the process are still evident.