Basketball Ireland has stood by its decision to snub handshakes with Israeli opponents during last week’s EuroBasket qualifier in Riga.
The Irish women’s team also refused to stand on the court for the pre-match anthem, as they made a form of protest against the Israel-Gaza war. Israel won the game 87-57.
One Israeli player subsequently accused of the Irish team of being antisemitic, something that has been strongly rejected by Basketball Ireland, whose chief executive, John Feehan, said: “We have done what is right for the sport.”
Feehan has now called on The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) to take responsibility and make future decisions on whether or not such matches should be played and how pre-match traditions like handshakes should be carried out.
“No federation, anywhere, wants to be in that position,” he told BBC Sport. “Having said that, I think we have come out of it very strongly. The reality is that it is a difficult situation. I hope it is resolved over the next while, but, ultimately, that will be up to Fiba. We can’t do this in isolation.
“These kinds of decisions should be done as a totality. Fiba would have to make sure there is willing support across Europe to do that. You can’t do these things in isolation, you end up hurting yourself and nobody else. We hope that everything can be resolved. Let’s be brutally honest, everyone wants peace and hopefully that will happen in the not to distant future.”
Ireland had faced pressure to boycott the fixture entirely, which had been moved to Latvia from Israel due to the war.
Israel coach Sharon Drucker accused Ireland of failing to respect the sport, while player Dor Saar said the Ireland team were “quite anti-Semitic”.
Basketball Ireland said the comments were “inflammatory and wholly inaccurate”, and Feehan said they had made the right decision to play but protest.
“Ultimately, we have to make sure we don’t exclude anybody within our sport and that is exactly where we needed to be,” he said. “It’s been a difficult week but I think the sport is in great shape and going forward in a positive way.”