The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) approved on Wednesday a proposal to relax clothing rules in order to allow Muslim players to wear the hijab during games.
Under the new rule, which will come into effect in October, players will be allowed to wear headgear (including hijabs and yarmukles) as long as it has been ratified by the federation. Among other things, they should not cover “any part of the face entirely or partially”and should not have “parts extruding from its surface”.
The governing body previously banned head coverings over what it said was a safety issue (e.g: if head coverings fell to the ground during matches, it could pose a risk to players.)
But in light of a recent shift in competitive sports, which has seen more and more disciplines rescinding their hijab bans, FIBA began reviewing its own rule in September 2014 and granting exceptions at the national level as part of a two-year trial period.
“The new rule comes as a result of the fact that traditional dress codes in some countries—which called for the head and/or entire body being covered—were incompatible with FIBA’s previous headgear rule.”
The rule change followed a successful social media campaign organized under the hashtag #FIBAAllowsHijab during which over 131,000 people called for a reversal of the ban on Change.org.
In 2014, the International Football Federation (FIFA) officially authorized the wearing of head covering for religious reasons during competitions, provided it was attached to the shirt and was also the same color as the rest of the uniform.
Last month, Nike launched its very first sports hijab specifically to cater to Muslim women athletes.