Ireland shuns pre-match courtesies in basketball match against Israel over accusations of antisemitism

Ireland women’s team shuns normal pre-match courtesies while facing Israel in a EuroBasket qualifying game after being outraged by accusations of antisemitism by an Israeli player.

The accusations by Israeli player Dor Saar on the Israeli Basketball Association’s official channels prompted Basketball Ireland to report them to the governing body FIBA Europe. Forfeiting the match was rejected because Ireland would have faced sanctions.

Instead, there are no handshakes or other pleasantries before the qualifier in Riga, Latvia, an alternative venue because of the war in Gaza.

“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 antisemitism, published on official Israeli federation channels — that our players will not be partaking in traditional pre-match arrangements with our upcoming opponents,” a statement reads.

“This includes exchanging of gifts, 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.”

While Ireland defies pressure to boycott the match — the federation said it was not feasible — several players opted not to travel to Riga.

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