Jewish Journal


June 10, 2011

European basketball association will not make uniform exception for Orthodox player


The organization that coordinates European basketball will not make an exception to its uniform policy for an Orthodox Jewish player on the Israeli national women’s team.

Naama Shafir, an Israeli point guard and a player on the University of Toledo’s women’s basketball team, normally wears a T-shirt under her jersey for modesty reasons.

Israel appealed to FIBA Europe—the Munich-based organization that governs basketball in Europe—for an exemption for Shafir so that she could participate in the upcoming European women’s basketball championship. But the group decided to stick with its usual policy: All players must wear the same uniform.

The decision is “final,” FIBA Europe spokesman Sakis Kontos told the Associated Press.

“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 FIBA ruling means Shafir, 21, will not participate in the tournament, which begins on June 18 in Poland.

Shafir, who hails from the town of Hoshaya in northern Israel,  told the AP she will not compromise her religious beliefs and will not play with her shoulders bare.

In April, Shafir scored 40 points to lead the University of Toledo to victory in the final game of the 2011 Women’s National Invitational Tournament, the school’s first ever postseason tournament champtionship. She has been able to wear a T-shirt under her jersey for her collegiate games.

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