According to a statement issued by the Director of Sports of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Mr. Abdirashid Aided Yasin, the ministry has suspended the ongoing women’s soccer tournament for violating the Islamic Sharia. The letter did not cite specific Islamic edicts the tournament has violated but a Facebook post by the director added that the tournament has been suspended following the broadcast of the games.
The suspension letter refers to a prior agreement that the tournament should not be broadcast on media or social media and adds that the ministry has suspended the games following reaction from religious leaders and the public.
The letter did not specify if a change of attire or other measures to ensure compliance with Islamic laws and conservative values were attempted before the tournament was scrapped but the letter reaffirms the ministry’s support of sports for both genders as long as females play in close venues where no male spectators are not allowed.
Rights activists condemned the ministry’s action and characterized it as a symptom of lack of representation of women in the Somaliland government.
Efforts to reach officials at the Ministry of Youth and Sports for clarification on why the women’s tournament was suspended were unsuccessful.