Getty image

France: Basketball rules excluding Muslim women players from competitions are discriminatory

Ahead of the Annual General Assembly of the French Basketball Federation (FFBB) this weekend, Amnesty International is calling on the FFBB and the French Ministry of Sport, Olympic and Paralympic Games to ensure that rules regarding the wearing of sports head coverings in competitions do not discriminate against, and violate the rights of, Muslim women players who wear religious headgear. Amnesty International’s Women’s Rights Researcher in Europe, Anna Blus said: 

“Excluding Muslim women basketball players who wear religious headgear from competitive matches is not only discriminatory and a violation of their rights to freedom of expression, health, private life and religion, it also flies in the face of the duty to ensure basketball is accessible by all sportswomen.

“Rather than imposing discriminatory rules that target Muslim sportswomen, the FFBB and French authorities should use the opportunity of the General Assembly to revise existing rules to ensure they protect not violate human rights, as well as end the harmful discourse and negative stereotypes that only serve to fuel Islamophobia, including within sports”. 


See Amnesty International’s public statement expressing concerns at the harmful interpretation of the FFBB Official Rules and the introduction in December 2022 of a new article 9.3 to the General Sports Regulations which expressly bans “the wearing of any equipment with a religious or political connotation in competitions”. Non-compliance with article 9.3 could result in disciplinary proceedings for the player and those who allow the progress of the competition.