After years of promoting policies and sanctions against racist slurs by both fans and players, the international federation of the world's soccer authorites, FIFA, has just banned Iran from the 2011 Women's World Cup.
The Iranian players wear head scarves. FIFA claims to be concerned for their safety, fearing they might choke, or be choked during agressive play.
I won't pretend to be expert on sport safety, but I don't get this one. I've played enough soccer to say this smells like a crock of the proverbial bovine dung to me.
Now don't get me wrong. I remain firmly opposed to full face coverings in most public circumstances. Nothing to do with religion, or freedom of expression, or women's rights. I am simply expert in matters of identity and authentication as they apply in this urban century. I understand the levels of authorization required during important social and financial transactions.
You want to cross a border, drive a car, cash a cheque, or fill a prescription? Then show us your face so we can authenticate your passport, driver's licence, bank card, or Health Care photo.
If you want onto the flight deck of a Boeing 747, or into a Level 4 Epidemiology Lab, we will settle for nothing less than your right eyeball and your index finger.
But this has nothing to do with the Iranian women's soccer team.
Soeur Marie-Hélène de l'Assomption - ssa, wore a veil every blessed day of her life and it didn't interfere one iota with her teaching me to conjugate the pluperfect subjunctive of the verb 'accommodate', nor did it prevent me or my Grade 6 classmates from donning balaclavas to play hockey outdoors at 24 below zero.
Soeur M'Laine as she was affectionately known behind her back playing on Edith Piaff's 'Milord', could also drive a fastball deep into left field, then unceremoniously hawl her skirts up to knee level and race around the bases to notch up doubles and even the occasional triple. Only dispensing with sliding prevented many more of the latter.
When I recall her typical 1950s 'penguin' getup billowing out behind her tall racing frame, veil streaming at dead horizontal behind her, I can't help but juxtapose that image with the phalanx of testosterone deficit post-menopausal male faces gathered around Sepp Blatter in Zurich to pontificate on safety for the Iranian women's World Cup soccer team.
What a crock!