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Basketball Federation Clears The Way For Patkas And Turbans In International Matches

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The US lawmakers on Friday, February 3, 2017, hailed the International Basketball Federation's (FIBA) move towards ending its "discriminatory policy" that prevented Sikh basketball players from participating in international matches with patkas and turbans.

"We're thrilled that the board has endorsed a change that, if adopted, will let Sikhs and other athletes who wear articles of faith and play," Chairman of the Democratic Caucus, Joe Crowley said. The board's recommendation will be considered when its mid-term Congress meets in May.

Crowley issued the statement after the FIBA's central board announced it supports a change in policy that requires Sikhs and other players to remove their articles of faith, such as turbans, in international competition.

Following a meeting of FIBA's Central Board on January 27 and 28 in Switzerland, the body had said: "After initiating a revision process of the headgear rule (Article 4.4.2) of the Official Basketball Rules in September 2014, the Board received a report on the impact of the exceptions applied on a domestic level during a two-year period.

"It (the board) favoured a modification of the rule and issued a mandate for the Technical Commission to come forward with a proposal that would allow headgear to be worn safely by athletes. This will be presented to the Mid-Term Congress in May," FIBA said.

Crowley said they will be closely monitoring the situation going forward to ensure the entire FIBA Congress adopts the change by May this year.

"While it should have never taken this long for the board to endorse this change, we're glad that FIBA is moving ahead. There is no evidence that turbans or religious headgear pose a threat to players, and FIBA's policy has not only been outdated, but discriminatory," they said.

"We're glad FIBA is moving in the right direction and we look forward to a final change soon," the statement said.


February 4, 2017
 

Conversation about this article

1: Arjan Singh (USA), February 10, 2017, 2:55 AM.

I cannot help but laugh my eyeballs out after reading this news. In year 2017 we are still debating if Sikh men and women can play a sport with their headgear (patkas and turbans) on? There is no end to the human barbarity against each other. We must educate the world of the proud track record of Sikhs in the world of sports in the past century. Let me share a few facts: In 1928, the Indian Hockey team won its first Olympic gold medal and until 1956, India men's team remained unbeaten in the Olympics, winning six gold medals in a row. This team had many Sikh players who played with their headgear. Here is a list of a few Sikh Hockey players who played at the International level: Balbir Singh, team member of three Olympic Gold Medal winning teams (London 1948, Helsinki 1952, Melbourne 1956). He is one of 16 Olympians chosen whose example tells of human strength and endeavour, of passion, determination, hard work and achievement and demonstrates the values of the Olympic Movement. Charanjit Singh - team member and a Captain (won 1964 Summer Olympics in Japan). Gurbux Singh - team member (won 1964 Summer Olympics in Japan). Prithipal Singh - team member (won Olympic medals in Rome, Tokyo and Mexico). Harmik Singh - team member. Ajit Pal Singh - Captain (Gold winner, Hockey World Cup, Malaysia). Gagan Ajit Singh - International Hockey Player. I am appalled by the silence of the Sikh leaders and the overall community on this issue. With our lack of support for our youth who wear turbans and want to play sports at the international level we are actively playing into the narrative of our enemies who are hell bent on portraying us as the ones in the wrong. The Hindu community must be laughing in glee that we are still fighting these existential issues while they are able to play any sport as they wish, despite the absence of talent, skill and sportsmanship.

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