FIBA postpones decision on “no-headgear” regulation

By Manali Kulkarni

In July and August of this year,  officials of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA)required a total of three Sikhs Indian players to remove their turbans before and during play. One incident occurred on July 12 at the FIBA Asia Cup in China,2 when two Sikh players were required to remove their turbans before the game against Japan.Then, on August 21 during FIBA’s Asia U18 Championship in Doha, Qatar,4 another Sikh player was required to remove his turban during the second quarter of the opening game.5

FIBA stated it would review its guidelines on headgear during its Central Board meeting on August 28-29 in Seville, Spain. Currently, Article 4.4.2 of the FIBA Rules states:

Players shall not wear equipment (objects) that may cause injury to other players. The following are not permitted:... Headgear, hair accessories and jewellery.6, 7

As of August 29, 2014, FIBA has decided to postpone its decision on the headgear guidelines, explaining that they need more time to analyze the regulations. We understand that FIBA’s Central Board will first hear from FIBA’s Technical and Legal commissioners on how best to address the headgear regulations, before making a definite decision on Rule

With the FIBA Basketball World Cup commencing on 30 August,9 international basketball teams and national basketball associations presumably wanted a change in headgear regulations in place to avoid continued conflicts and uncertainty. Without any amendments to Article 4.4.2, and no interim clarification on the issue, players could in theory still be required to take off their turbans during the tournament.10

FIBA has yet to set a date for when they will hear from their two commissions on how to proceed with Rule




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About the Author

Manali Kulkarni

Manali Kulkarni

Manali is currently a second year (2L) JD Candidate at the University of Maine School of Law. She was previously the COO at LawInSport and continues to be an executive contributor of the editorial board for LawInSport. She holds an LLM in Sports Law from Nottingham Law School (Nottingham Trent University). During the fall of her second year in Portland, Maine, Manali also had the opportunity to be the legal intern at Global Sports Advocates.

Manali previously researched on sports and society in India, specifically focusing on the influence of sport on the gender divide in India. She joined LawInSport in September 2013 as a research assistant providing updates on Indian sports law. She is currently back in her hometown, Memphis, Tennessee, for a visiting semester at the University of Memphis School of Law.

Get in touch with Manali on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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