Basketball’s governing body Federation International Basketball Association (FIBA) changed their rules on headgear in a move that will allow players to wear the hijab during matches. On Thursday 4th May, new rules were ratified that will take effect from 1st October 2017.
Bradford-based basketball player, coach and spoken-word poet Asma Elbadawi started a petition on change.org over 10 months ago calling for FIBA to lift the ban on headgear to allow players in turbans, hijabs and other religious headgear to play basketball and to apply this rule to all levels of basketball. The petition gained over 132,000 signatures.
Speaking to The Muslim Vibe today, Elbadawi said,“I am really pleased that FIBA has lifted the ban. Since basketball is one of the most popular sports right now, there is scope for Muslims to be seen in a different light and show their willingness to integrate into society. It also shows that FIBA understands how important it is for players of all faiths and beliefs to have the opportunity to complete at a high level.”
In 2014 the Qatar women’s basketball team withdrew from the Asian Games in South Korea after being denied permission to wear the hijab during matches. The players were asked to remove their headscarves before their game against Mongolia but refused and forfeited.
This groundbreaking change in the rules will allow basketball players to compete whilst wearing religious headgear and will surely pave the way for a new generation of female Muslim athletes, able to observe the hijab whilst competing at the highest level in the sport they love!