Ireland shuns Israeli team at basketball qualifier
Ireland's team was accused of anti-semitism by an Israeli player before the game, which prompted the team to boycott all match courtesies with the latter.
At the EuroBasket qualifier, Ireland's women's basketball team refused to shake hands with their Israeli opponents in response to accusations of anti-Semitism by an Israeli player.
Israeli player, Dor Shaar, stated in an interview with the Israeli Basketball Association, targeting Ireland, “It’s known that they are quite anti-Semitic and it’s no secret, and maybe that’s why a strong game is expected.”
In turn, Basketball Ireland reported the inflammatory and wholly inaccurate accusation to the governing body FIBA Europe, and decided to boycott traditional pre-match courtesies with the Israeli team.
In a statement yesterday, they announced that “Basketball Ireland informed FIBA Europe yesterday that as a direct result of recent comments made by Israeli players and coaching staff — including inflammatory and wholly inaccurate accusations of anti-Semitism, published on official Israeli federation channels — that our players will not be partaking in traditional pre-match arrangements with our upcoming opponents."
Statement ahead of today's FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2025 Qualifier. pic.twitter.com/iz6s88febf— Basketball Ireland (@BballIrl) February 8, 2024
“This includes exchanging of gifts, and formal handshakes before or after the game, while our players will line up for the national anthem by our bench, rather than center court. Basketball Ireland fully supports our players in their decision," they added.
The Irish team initially planned on boycotting the entire match due to the Israeli genocide against Gaza, however, FIBA Europe informed them that such action would subject the team to sanctions, according to Basketball Ireland. This did not stop several Irish players, however, from opting not to travel to Riga.
The game that took place in Latvia was supposed to take place in occupied Palestine late last year.
Everyone wants 'Israel' banned in sports
A 12-nation group of football associations in the Middle East has called on FIFA and the UEFA to ban "Israel", Sky News reported yesterday, referring to the letter sent to the federation.
The group includes the football associations of Palestine, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, and is led by Jordan's Football Association, whose head is King Abdullah II's half-brother, Prince Ali.
The letter, written by Prince Ali, called on FIFA to isolate the Israeli football association from all related activities due to the brutal genocide in Gaza, and the continuous war crimes "Israel" keeps committing in the strip, targeting Palestinian civilians, including football enthusiasts, players, and coaches.
The Israeli FA, however, called for the rejection of the ban on the basis of detaching football and sports from politics. Niv Goldstein, "Israel's" Federal Association CEO, said, "We are concentrating only on football matters and our dream is to qualify for the European Championship in 2024 and I'm looking forward to world peace."
This raised questions concerning the UEFA's exclusion of Russia in international tournaments and participation when the war against Ukraine was launched.