Basketball players say allowing headgear empowers the sport

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Basketball enthusiasts around the world said a decision to allow players to wear headgear that complies with their religious beliefs would encourage more people to play the sport.

In a ruling Thursday, May 4, by the federation known as FIBA indicated players can wear hijabs, turbans, and yarmulkes following a ban initially imposed for safety reasons. Several major sports federations already allow head covers during matches.

American-Muslim basketball player Indira Kajlo said she had to choose “between playing and not playing” the sport she loved when she decided to wear the hijab a few years ago. She said the decision welcomes a new generation of athletes to play basketball.

Iranian national basketball team player Shadi Abdolvand said the game would now change in Iran and encourage younger players to “pursue their goals more persistently.”

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