Qatari Women Basketball Jersey – FIBA got it very wrong!

By Eze Eluchie on 21/10/2014

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Picture: Members of the Qatari women national basketball team (wearing their jersey for which they were expelled by FIBA) at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea // EndIf File Exists (region6)

Sporting events have, from time immemorial, been one area where humanity, irrespective of our various divides, can congregate in amity, equity and unison. Sporting arenas are a veritable venue where peoples who ordinarily would never have had an opportunity to interact find themselves thrust together within an enclosure in pleasurably healthy competition and friendship. From the Olympics held in ancient Greece to various present-day international sporting events, Sports has continued to serve to bridge divides against peoples, open up new channels of communication and expose to all who care to see, the commonality of our humanity.

It is in the light of the foregoing that the kill-joy efforts of some of the entities who have surreptitiously manipulated their ways to preside over the administering bodies of international sporting associations, should continue to give all interested in restoring the ideals of sports as a unifier of mankind a serious source of concern and worry.

Participation in sporting engagements, particularly international meets, often offers and represents an opportunity at exposure and enlightenment to persons who otherwise may never have such options.

The recent expulsion of the female national basketball team of Qatar from the ongoing 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, by the leadership of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) on account of the jersey of the Qatari team is most regrettable and unfortunate. The FIBA Executives had, probably in consonance with what appears to be a growing global phobia and intolerance of the Muslims on account of the vicious crimes committed by criminals in the name of the Islamic faith, incredulously ruled that the jersey of the Qatari women, which had an extension which covered the hair was in default of a FIBA rule which forbade basketball players from adorning “headgear, hair accessories, and jewelry”.

On the one hand, for the young Qatari women basketball players and the millions of their compatriots in Qatar and all over the Muslim world, most of whom are consigned to remain in the background (at home) providing a supportive role to their men-folk; participation in a sporting meet at such international levels has limitless advantages beyond the mere sporting event. It affords an experience of hope, diversity, freedom and self actualization which their unfortunate expulsion by FIBA truncated. 

On the other hand, a mere scrutiny of the uniform worn by the Qatari women will reveal the folly in the FIBA reasoning and decision – what the girls are wearing neither constitutes a ‘headgear, accessory nor jewelry’. If the FIBA Executives want to see what a headgear is, they may choose to attend any of the lavish social ceremonies we have virtually every day in Nigeria – then they will know what a headgear is!

Looking at the jerseys of some of the other teams participating in the Basketball event (and some other sports) at the Asian games, and the emerging noticeable trend of near nudity in sporting attires, one begins to wonder if there is any unwritten code to encourage skimpy dressing and that the Qatari women are merely being penalized for not showing enough of their bodies? One certainly hopes this is not the case.

It is clearly late to reverse the regrettable FIBA decision on the Qatari women basketball team, but it is certainly hoped that such ill-advised mistakes do not occur, ever again. There certainly is need to use the instrumentality of sporting events and competitions to reach out and welcome those who represent change from territories where such change and understanding are greatly needed. It is also hoped that other international sporting bodies will refrain from making the error FIBA committed over the Qatari women national basketball team.

First published at


Posted on October, 21 2014

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