FIBA defends decision on Qatar hijab row

Qatar women’s basketball team returned home from South Korea after being told they could not wear head scarves while competing.

FIBA defends decision on Qatar hijab row

World Bulletin / News Desk

Basketball’s world governing body FIBA insisted religion has nothing to do with its ban on headwear, after a Qatari women’s team left the Incheon Asian Games and arrived back home Friday under a cloud of controversy.

The players were seemingly unaware that they would not be allowed to compete while wearing hijab scarves, and refused to take to the court without them for their opening two games – after both matches were forfeited, they quit altogether despite having one more contest scheduled.

A FIBA statement Friday insisted that their “regulations apply on a global scale and without any religious connotation.”

The statement was responding to groups who have “interpreted the provisions of the official basketball rules as a ban against the participation of players of certain faiths.”

The 17th Asiad is being held until October 4 in South Korea’s port city of Incheon, welcoming thousands of athletes from 45 nations.

There have been no such restrictions on headwear in other sports at the Games - but Wednesday’s incident is reminiscent of July’s Asia Cup in China, when Indian basketball players were asked to remove their turbans.

FIBA is relaxing the rule over a two-year trial period ahead of the Olympics in 2016 – but international games will not be tested until next year.

World football governing body FIFA had also held a similar trial before formally permitting players to cover their heads as of earlier this year.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Eylül 2014, 17:08