The world’s top female chess players have reacted with horror after being told they must compete at next year’s world championship wearing a hijab.
Within hours of Iran being revealed as its host country, the prestigious event was plunged into crisis as it emerged players taking part face arrest if they don’t cover up.
In response, Grandmasters lined up to say they would boycott the 64-player knock-out and accused the game’s scandal-hit governing body Fide of failing to stand up for women’s rights.
Fide’s Commission for Women’s Chess, meanwhile, called on participants to respect “cultural differences” and accept the regulations.
Hijabs have been mandatory for women in Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the strict law is enforced by the country’s “morality police”.
Any woman found not wearing one in public faces arrest, a fine or public admonishment. However, players claim by awarding the event to Iran Fide is turning a blind eye to sexual discrimination.