FIBA require another Sikh basketball player to remove turban ahead of rule review

By Manali Kulkarni

On July 12, 2014, two Sikh Indian basketball players were required by officials to remove their turbans prior to India’s game against Japan at the 5th FIBA Asia Cup in China.1

On August 21, 2014, another Indian Sikh basketball player, Anmol Singh, faced a similar situation at the FIBA Asia U18 Championship in Doha, Qatar, when he was asked to remove his turban (patka) twice. The first incident occurred during warm up before the opening match,2 and the second occurred a day later, when he was permitted by officials to play the first quarter with his patka, but then asked to remove it in the second quarter.3

The Basketball Federation of India (BFI)4 argued that asking Singh to remove his patka was "unwarranted action” by the Technical Commission of FIBA Asia5.6

The Director of the Technical Commission of FIBA Asia informed India’s team manager, Shafique Ahmed Shaikh, that Anmol Singh’s matter will be reviewed at the FIBA Central Board meeting in Seville, Spain on August 28 and 29, alongside the review of the FIBA Asia Cup headgear incident from July, which is due to be considered on August 27.7

Until that meeting, however, FIBA has said it will continue following its current headgear rule8 , which has seen a strict application of Article 4.4.2 of the FIBA Rules:

Players shall not wear equipment (objects) that may cause injury to other players.

The following are not permitted:... Headgear, hair accessories and jewellery.9

BFI pointed out that the headgear regulations have not been a recurring issue for other sports in international competitions. BFI explained that Indian Sikh athletes in volleyball, football, hockey, handball, and cricket do not experience any resistance regarding their headgear.10

We now await the results of FIBA Central Board’s imminent review.

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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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