Austria Soccer Champions League Tel Aviv

Schechter celebrating with his kippah

Israel’s football association has suspended its ban on footballers wearing kippot in its minor leagues following a string of protests from players and politicians.

The turnaround comes after pressure from lower league players and officials. Yair Cohen-Tzedek, a player from Jaffa, protested against the prohibition, with reports saying he asked teammates from Maccabi Kabilio Jaffa and fans to all wear kippot at future matches as a sign of solidarity in his campaign to have the new regulation scrapped. Uri Orbach, Israel’s minister for pensioner’s affairs, had said: “The regulation against wearing head-coverings is stupid.”

And confirming players would now be allowed to keep their heads covered while playing, a statement from the Israeli FA said: “Until the end of the season, the status quo will remain for lower leagues, and any observant player who chooses to play with a kippah will be able to do so.”

However, a spokesman for the referees union said: “League matches are conducted according to FIFA regulations, which determine what players may wear on the field. No head gear of any kind is on the list.

“If FIFA issues a different regulation, we will act accordingly.”

In 2010, Hapoel Tel Aviv’s Itay Schechter was yellow-carded in a Champions League qualifying match against FC Salzburg for celebrating a goal by putting on a kippah.