In a move that some would suggest is overdue, basketball's governing body will begin to allow players to wear religious garb for on-court action.
On Tuesday, FIBA announced that players will be allowed to wear religious head coverings – like hijabs or turbans – on a trial basis for some upcoming competitions.
The previous rules allowed only a five-centimeter headband for the purposes of controlling hair and sweat, a limitation that led to objections from Muslim and Sikh players. Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director of the council on American-Islamic relations, spoke highly of the change:
We welcome this policy change by FIBA because it allows Muslims, Sikhs and others who wear religious head coverings to take part in the sport that they love while maintaining their beliefs. FIBA should be congratulated for responding positively to all those who sought reasonable religious accommodation for athletes of all faiths.
For the new rule to be applicable, a national federation must petition FIBA to allow its players to wear head coverings, after which they will have to file two reports a year as a follow up. The rule will be evaluated once again in 2015, with a full review set for 2016 to determine whether it will become a permanent rule change following the 2016 Olympics.
Feature photo courtesy of Reuters