Basketball: FIBA allowed players to wear religious head coverings
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) on 16 September 2014 allowed players to wear religious head coverings, such as hijabs or turbans, on a trial basis. The permission was granted after FIBA’s central board met over the weekend at the Men’s World Cup in Spain and voted to allow a two-year testing phase that let players to wear head coverings.
FIBA has allowed the head coverings in its 3-on-3 competitions unless it presents a direct threat to the safety of players on the court. Further, the rule will be evaluated in 2015 and then it will be decided whether it will become a permanent rule change post the 2016 Olympics.
Reason for allowing religious head covers
In July 2014, during the FIBA Asia Cup campaign in China, two Sikh players namely Amjyot Singh and Amritpal Singh of the Indian team were asked to remove their turbans before starting the game. The players were told by the match officials that they were breaking the FIBA rules and thus were not allowed to play with turbans.
Earlier, FIBA under its rules allowed a player to wear a 5-centimeter headband to control hair and sweat and this rule drew objections. The group that objected on the rules termed it as a discrimination against Muslim and Sikh players, who had head coverings for religious reasons. Many Sikh Organisations ran a social media campaign named #LetSikhsPlay and urged the international basketball federation to not bar Sikh players due to their religious head covering.
Similar kind of change was made in the football rules by FIIFA in 2012. FIFA allowed female Muslim players to wear head scarves. The decision was made following a campaign by executive committee member Prince Ali bib Al-Hussein of Jordan.