AKAAL BREAKING NEWS: Fiba ends 20-yr ban, allows use of turbans:
Punjab hoopsters Amritpal Singh and Amjyot Singh won’t have to face the ignominy of removing their turbans in the middle of an international basketball match anymore.
The governing body of international basketball, Fiba, has unanimously ratified its central board’s decision for a new rule that will allow players to wear headgear on the court, starting October 1, 2017.This decision terminates a 20year ban on religious head coverings, which was originally imposed for safety reasons.
It may be recalled that in 2014 during the 5th Fiba Asia Cup in Wuhan, China, two Indian Sikh players Amritpal Singh and Amjyot Singh were not allowed to play while wearing their turbans. Talking to TOI, Amritpal, captain of the national team, said, “Better sense has prevailed. Several Indian athletes have played with patkas all these years in different sports and nothing untoward has happened. It (Fiba’s decision) is very important since most of our tall and well-built players come from Punjab. And, the patka is not just a religious symbol for us; it is part of us.“
“People know us because of basketball. It gives us jobs and brings food to the table. I think now many talented players from Punjab will not be apprehensive, whether they should continue playing the sport or not, after this rule change,“ Amjyot reacted.
The provisions of the new rule mean that headgear is allowed when: it is black or white, or of the same dominant colour as that of the uniform; it is one same color for all players of the team (as all accessories); it does not cover any part of the face entirely or partially (eyes, nose, lips etc.); it is not dangerous to the player wearing it or to other players; it has no opening or closing elements around the face and neck; it has no parts extruding from its surface.
The new rule comes as a result of the fact that traditional dress codes in some countries which called for the head or entire body being covered were incompatible with Fiba’s previous headgear rule. Fiba initiated a revision process of its headgear rule in September 2014, with exceptions being granted at national level, as part of a two-year testing period. A historic trial match featuring women wearing hijabs was held in Iran on April 13 this year. The game also marked the first time men witnessed a women’s sporting event in person in Iran.