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Ireland women’s basketball team refuse to shake hands with Israel

During a EuroBasket 2025 qualifier in Riga, the Ireland women’s basketball team declined to shake hands with the Israeli team before the match. Israeli player Dor Saar accused the Ireland team of being “quite anti-Semitic,” which Basketball Ireland strongly refuted, calling the comments inflammatory and inaccurate.

Before the game, the Ireland players stood for their anthem beside their bench rather than at the center court, a departure from the usual protocol. Despite concerns expressed by Irish players and pressure to boycott the fixture due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza, the match proceeded. Basketball Ireland reported Saar’s comments to Fiba Europe and explained their decision not to participate in traditional pre-match rituals.

Earlier, Basketball Ireland’s CEO warned of heavy fines and expulsion from the competition if the team boycotted their matches with Israel, stating it would harm women’s international basketball for years. Saar’s remarks were made in an interview on the Israeli Basketball Association’s website, where she suggested that the Irish team’s perceived animosity fueled a desire for a strong performance from Israel.

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