Asian Games: Qatar forfeit second game over hijab ban

Asian Games: Qatar forfeit second game over hijab ban
This photo taken on September 24, 2014 shows members of the Qatar women's basketball team walking off the court after withdrawing ahead of their women's preliminary round match against Mongolia during the 17th Asian Games at the Hwaseong Sports Complex Gymnasium in Incheon.

INCHEON, South Korea - Qatar's women's basketball team on Thursday forfeited a second Asian Games match because players are not allowed to wear a hijab headscarf, officials said.

"We are not going to the stadium today and for the other matches as we will not be allowed to play because of the international basketball federation," a Qatar Olympic Committee official told AFP.

The Qatar women forfeited their first group game against Mongolia on Wednesday. They were due to play Nepal on Thursday and Kazakhstan on Friday.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) bans headwear and hair accessories on the court, but it faces mounting pressure from Muslim nations to change.

Other sports, including football, have changed their regulations to allow hijabs and other headgear during competition.

"After what happened yesterday, we received several calls from FIBA, the Olympic Council of Asia and the International Olympic Committee to say that they were all following the case," said the Qatar official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Qatar women's basketball squad has five players who wear a hijab and six who do not.

Incheon Asian Games spokesman Park Dal-Hwa said organisers were leaving it to the sports federations concerned to handle the dispute.

"Each federation has its own rules and Qatar forfeited their game for violating rules," he said.

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