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Shafir. Appeal denied Photo: Oren Aharoni
Shafir. Appeal denied Photo: Oren Aharoni
 
 

Basketball player loses modesty battle

European body refuses to let Israel's Naama Shafir wear T-shirt under her jersey during women's championship. Player says she cannot compromise on religious beliefs, won't play with bare shoulders

Associated Press
Published: 06.18.11, 09:37 / Israel Culture

European basketball's governing body will not make allowances for an Israeli player's religious observance in the upcoming European women's championship, a spokesman said last week.

 

University of Toledo and Israeli national team point guard Naama Shafir is an Orthodox Jew who wears a T-shirt under her jersey in keeping with Jewish modesty rules.

 

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European basketball regulations say all players must wear precisely the same uniform. Despite appeals by Israel's national team for an exception in Shafir's case, Munich-based FIBA Europe told the AP early Friday that none would be made.

 

The decision on Shafir is "final," FIBA Europe spokesman Sakis Kontos said.

 

"The global rules of the game clearly state that a team must be uniformly dressed, and the rules must always be upheld," he said.

 

The decision means the 21-year-old Shafir will not compete at the tournament, which opens Saturday in Poland. Shafir said Thursday that she cannot compromise on her religious beliefs and would not play with her shoulders bare.

 

Shafir pointed out that officials from the NCAA, where she has competed for Toledo since 2008, have always let her play with a T-shirt.

 

Her college team has also made sure Shafir does not have to drive or practice on Shabbat.

 

 

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