Hong Kong – A new rule to let basketball players wear headgear that complies with their religious faith has been passed by the sport’s governing body.
The rule will take effect on Oct. 1, the Switzerland-based federation known as FIBA said in a statement.
Then, players can wear hijabs, turbans and yarmulkes following a 20-year ban on head coverings that was initially imposed for safety reasons.
“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 governing body said.
FIBA member federations passed the rule Thursday at a congress in Hong Kong after studying the issue since 2014, and with several conditions on design and color.
“It was developed in a way that minimizes the risk of injuries as well as preserve consistency of the color of the uniform,” FIBA said.
Headgear will be permitted under the following conditions: it must be black, white or the same dominant color as a team’s uniform; not cover any part of the face entirely or partially; and have “no opening/closing elements around the face and/or neck.”
The headgear must also have “no parts extruding from its surface,” FIBA said.
The move was urged by WNBA players, including Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm, who signed a letter on social media that was sent to FIBA President Horacio Muratore.