Irish basketball team refuses to shake hands with Israeli team

Ireland’s women’s basketball team refused to shake hands with the Israeli team before their EuroBasket 2025 qualifier in Riga, Latvia.

In response to Israeli player Dor Saar’s comments about the Irish team being „quite antisemitic”, Basketball Ireland said the remarks were „inflammatory and wholly inaccurate”, and the Ireland players lined up for their anthem beside the team’s bench rather than the centre of the court before the EuroBasket 2025 qualifier game, reports the BBC.

Basketball Ireland also said in a statement before the start of the match that the team would not take part in „traditional pre-match arrangements”.

In the lead-up to the game, Israeli coach Sharon Drucker said Ireland „did not respect” what the game symbolises after Irish players expressed concern about playing. Nevertheless, despite pressure to boycott the game, Basketball Ireland still participated in the qualifier, which Israel won 87-57.

Basketball Ireland’s statement before the start of the game read: „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 – our players will not be partaking in traditional pre-match arrangements with our upcoming opponents. This includes exchanging of gifts, formal handshakes before or after the game, while our players will line up for the Irish national anthem by our bench rather than centre court. Basketball Ireland fully supports our players in their decision.”


Photo credit: Oksana Dzadan/Sportsfile/Getty Images (via The Guardian)