By Laura Jones.
There is one thing that the run up to the World Cup will be lacking this year…
It won’t be the over zealous expectations to win. There won’t even be a game of what WAG belongs to which player: they haven’t been invited this year.
What’s missing is that for the first time in years there will be no David Beckham in the England squad and as a result there won’t be a running commentary on his hairstyle.
Each international competition has brought us a plethora of styles, the fauxhawk, over-gelled curtains, the Argentinian greased up look with an elastic band around the forehead. Each style has had its own full page spread and editorial on who created it, why he chose to do it and was it all Victoria’s fault again.
What will it be like without a Brand Beckham World Cup hair-do? Will Rooney’s roots become the talk of Manaus instead? Imagine what would have happened if Becks had his braids banned by the Football Association?
This is a real consideration for footballers in Oman. Their FA has introduced a new code of conduct to ‘protect the ethics of the game’ which includes banning players from colouring or cutting their hair into ‘unusual’ styles.
Referees have been extended the power to check dressing rooms before kick-off to inspect whether players are adhering to the new code. If a hair is conspicuously out of place, referees can stop footballers from playing in the match.
The new regulations are also designed to curb extreme goal celebrations like Al Nahda Club player Juma Saeed’s this season. The Ivory Coast striker scored the winning goal against Fanja and celebrated in front of the away fans. This was cited as provocation because of his exuberant goal celebration.
Saeed was banned for two games and he had to apologise for his behaviour. The player said there was no ‘intention’ to incite the opposition supporters.
The OFA’s Vice-Chairman told the local press “this kind of behaviour from players is unacceptable…we have decided to have a strict dress code and also have control on the appearance of the players”.
The African player appears to have underestimated the depth of feeling in this Arab nation. With his full sleeve tattoos and stars shaved into his hair, Saeed’s provocation has moved off the field and forced the FA into setting traditional standards for their football players. Readers of the Times of Oman have welcomed the new regulations but others have declared them as ‘draconian’ measures.
I contacted the Oman Football Association to find out moreabout the new code of conduct and why they thought it was necessary but unfortunately I didn’t receive a reply.
In the same week when Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre Emerick Aubameyang had BVB shaved into his temple for their Champions League game against Real Madrid, you can see why a deeply conservative Middle East nation would look to clamp down on their players flamboyant style.
Some may see it as a threat to individuality whilst others will agree that Oman has conservative values off the pitch so why should it be a shock that a code of conduct is created to instill these values on the field?
Omani league players will have to express themselves with their feet not their fauxhawks from now on. I can hear a little bit of Beckham die inside.