Religious basketball player barred from contest in modesty spat

By Jennifer Lipman, June 10, 2011
Naama Shafir

Naama Shafir

An Orthodox Jewish basketball player has been forced to drop out of an international competition after officials ruled that she could not wear a T-shirt rather than a vest which would leave her shoulders bare.

Naama Shafir was due to play for the Israeli national team at the European women's basketball championship, which opens in Poland next week.

But Ms Shafir, 21, asked to be permitted to wear a T-shirt rather than the regulation vest, in accordance with Jewish laws on modesty.

The Munich-based FIBA Europe refused to budge and said the decision was final. 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."

Ms Shafir, who studies at the University of Toledo in Ohio, regularly plays in the American league in a T-shirt.

Last updated: 10:00am, June 10 2011