Manila, Philippines - Fifteen-year-old, Iman Khalil, won her appeal to United Soccer Association (USA) allowing her to wear a headdress, which is her custom as a Muslim. Meanwhile an extremist Catholic group from the Philippines that formed a soccer team, "The Bleeding Hearts of the Holy Crosses," announced today that they would be lodging a complaint with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) alleging religious decimation for being prohibited from playing in the World Cup, while wearing their religious symbols expressing their faith.
They argue that if female Muslims are allowed to play soccer while wearing their cumbersome headdresses of her faith by the USA, so should they be allowed to wear their life-sized crucifixes while playing on the field.
The FIFA counters, however, it is not against the freedom of expression of any religion but that the use of actual life-sized crucifixes is unsafe, not to mention unbearably painful.
"They are just too unsafe," said a lawyer for the FIFA. "Besides, why can't they just wear the regular thumb sized crosses? Like the kind at the gift shop like other Catholics wear around their neck, instead of those beams of lumber they tie to their backs."
The new controversial soccer team is from the deeply religious and pious region of the Philippines, where they reenact The Passion of Christ by crucifying three male volunteers to actual life-sized Roman crosses.
The idea to form a soccer team came to the three Catholic extremists while being crucified at last year's Passion of the Christ observances.
"All three of us were just hanging around up there tied to our crucifixes," said Juan Rodriguez, a founding member. "When suddenly after enduring six hours of horrendous pain and suffering, the vision to form a soccer team to play in The World Cup came to us. We were delirious with joy and then we all passed out."
Later, while coming to in the local hospital, all had decided they had undergone a religious experience. Not just heat exhaustion and dehydration as the attending physician had diagnosed.
Since then, they have arisen to place among the top five soccer teams of the Philippines. Although critics, or heretics, charge many of those games have been won under questionable circumstances.
"In fact, I believe they are not even soccer matches taking place, but Christian revival meetings," said Rodrigo Sanchez, sportswriter for the Philippine Sun.
Sanchez points out that many of those so-called matches were won by forfeit when the opposing team refused to play and simply fell to their knees praying right there on the field.
However, "The Bleeding Hearts of the Holy Crosses" attribute their success to the power of Christ and the crosses that they wear on their back to every match.
"When I attach the crucifix to my back -- what am I saying?" says Juan Rodriguez, goalkeeper for the team. "I mean when I attach myself to the crucifix, I feel as if I have God looking over my shoulder."
"Not me," said "Doubting" Thomas, who plays left-back for the team. "I always feel like I'm carrying a giant wooden cross; only made heavier by the minute by the collective sins of all mankind."
Currently "Doubting" Thomas, as he is known by his teammates, is currently questioning his faith and considering converting to the Anglican Church.
"I wonder if they're still accepting straight people?" said "Doubting" Thomas, just before he donned his crucifix and took the field. "I doubt it."
Currently all matches are exhibition games only, until "The Bleeding Hearts of the Holy Crosses" win their appeal.