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FIBA postpones decision on “no-headgear” regulation

Basketball Dunk

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



  1. International Basketball Federation,,
  2. 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup,,
  3. Sikh basketball players required to remove turbans in controversial decision’, LawInSport, August 1 2014, viewed 3 September 2014,
  4. 23rd FIBA Asia U18 Championship,,
  5.  ‘FIBA require another Sikh basketball player to remove turban ahead of rule review’, LawInSport, August 26, 2014, viewed 3 September 2014,
  6. FIBA Central Board, ‘Official Basketball Rules 2014’,,February 2, 2014, viewed 3 September 2014,, pg.14.
  7. ibid. See note 3.
  8. ‘FIBA delays decision to lift ban on turbans’, Times of India, August 29, 2014, viewed 3 September 2014,
  9. FIBA Basketball World Cup,,
  10. ibid. See note 6 (TOI)
  11. ibid. See note 6 (TOI) 


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