Big prize for Hijabs and Hat Tricks
2015-11-01 16:11:17 -

Soccer coach Fadhila Hajji from Tallaght, South Dublin collected the prize for Sport Against Racism Ireland’s (Sari) Hijabs and Hat Tricks initiative from Andy Sellins at the 2015 Beyond Sport Awards held in London on 20 October.


Hijabs and Hat Tricks, which won the prize for best new project at the prestigious awards, aims to use soccer as a platform to ease the path for girls of Muslim faith in Irish society.


The initiative is one of 39 projects – representing 23 sports from over 60 countries – that were shortlisted for the seventh annual awards, recognising the world’s most inspiring and impactful uses of sport for social change.


Hijabs and Hat Tricks was set up in 2014 after Fifa lifted its ban on the wearing of hijabs on the pitch, meaning that Muslim women were able to compete in international soccer wearing their traditional headgear.


Sari took the opportunity to launch the initiative which encourages young Muslim women to play soccer and to further intercultural dialogue. The resulting team called themselves Diverse City FC.


“This is a huge moment for Hijabs and Hat Tricks and I know everyone on Diverse City owns a little piece of this award,” said Hajji, 18, who collected the award on behalf of Sari. 


“So do all the people who have offered so much support and positivity. We are determined to take this initiative even further and show people how brilliant sport is at breaking down boundaries.”


Sari director and former Ireland team manager Brian Kerr added: “The players and coaches in Hijabs and Hat Tricks are an absolute inspiration to us all and a credit to Ireland. Sari is incredibly proud of their achievements and I have absolutely no doubt they will keep going on inspiring us all. 


“This is a talented group of young footballers who have seen an opportunity to effect real social change, challenge stereotypes and bring people together. We couldn’t be prouder of Diverse City for all that they have achieved.”


Hajji and her brother Abdul, Diverse City FC co-founder and coach, are part of the Sari team currently travelling around Ireland to deliver anti-discrimination soccer training sessions to children in their schools and clubs.


The programme of training is part of Fare Football Weeks, an initiative that brings together professional and amateur soccer players on pitches across Europe to celebrate diversity and promote the social inclusion of marginalised groups.

TAGS : Fadhila Hajji Sport Against Racism Ireland Sari Hijabs and Hat Tricks Beyond Sport Awards Diverse City
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