Headgear, including the hijab and yarmulkes, will be allowed in professional basketball following the approval of a proposal by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) that overturns a ban on such head coverings.

The organisation’s central board approved the proposal on Wednesday and the new rule was formally ratified during FIBA’s midterm congress on Thursday.

“It came up in our board meeting and everyone supported making the change,” USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley told AP news agency prior to Thursday’s FIBA meeting.

The body started the process of revising the rule in September 2014 and in February of this year, it tasked its playing rules committee to create a proposal that outlines how headgear could safely be worn in competition.

“The new rule comes as a result of the fact that traditional dress codes in some countries – which called for the head and/or entire body being covered – were incompatible with FIBA’s previous headgear rule,” FIBA said in a statement.

It was feared that head coverings could fall off during the game and potentially pose a risk to players.

Under the new rule, headgear must meet certain criteria to be allowed in competition, including that it “does not cover any part of the face entirely or partially”, it is “not dangerous to the player wearing it or other players” and it does not have “parts extruding from its surface”.

#FIBAAllowHijab

The rule change comes after a successful social media campaign aimed at overturning the ban that began more than two years ago.

A number of change.org petitions calling for a change to the rule have garnered more than 137,000 signatures.

Nike is releasing a new active-wear product for Muslim women called “pro hijabs”.

The clothing line has been in development for a year and will go on sale next year.

Al Jazeera’s Whitney Hurst explains.

Source: Al Jazeera