FIBA, Basketball’s World Governing Body, Reverses Controversial Headgear Ban

04 May 2017.

Photo: ISU Athletic Media Relations

FIBA - basketball's world governing body - today announced that it will allow basketball players to wear headgear from October 2017.

In an important decision, FIBA's Mid-Term Congress unanimously ratified the new headgear rule after its first ever Mid-Term Congress. The decision to overturn the longstanding ban, which particularly impacted religious observant players requiring headgear such as a hijab or dastar in order to play whilst following their faiths.

FIBA’s decision follows a sustained lobbying effort from advocacy groups involved in the MSE Platform for Human Rights, including Human Rights Watch, Shirzanan, and the World Players Association (formerly UNI World Athletes). Shirzanan, which promotes and advocates for Muslim female athletes, along with Athlete Ally, a campaigning organisation dedicated to fostering inclusive sports communities, have championed the cause of American Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (pictured), a former star player at the University of Memphis, who was barred from playing for three seasons due to her commitment to wearing a hijab during games.

The decision comes at the end of two and a half years of internal review, and followed an historic FIBA test game in Iran in April that featured women wearing hijabs and marked the first time men watched a women's sporting event in person.


Photo: ISU Athletic Media Relations