FIBA’s dance team has been benched during Turkey’s games. The Red Foxes have been told to stop performing in games involving the host country because their risque costumes and routines are offensive to the nation that is nearly entirely Muslim.
Islam prohibits women from exposing their skin in public.
Basketball’s governing body said Wednesday the ban was not its decision. Secretary general Patrick Baumann said he wants entertainment to be part of the games, but “if it needs a little bit of adjustment that is fine with us.”
Performers wore long pants Wednesday during a game between the United States and Iran. Iranian officials had turned their backs when the dancers, who usually wear tiny shorts or skirts, performed in earlier games.
The Red Foxes, a professional dance team from the Ukraine, will still perform at other games in Ankara.
“The dancers bring much fun and joy to fans watching games and help to create a vibrant, happy atmosphere in the arenas,” Baumann said.
FIBA’s statement did not include who imposed the ban or the reason for it, though said there was speculation that the dance routines were “too risque.” It added that Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan, his wife and the country’s minister for foreign affairs attended Turkey’s victories over Russia on Sunday and Greece on Tuesday.
“It is a balance between respecting the culture and making sure basketball delivers all the pace, excitement and entertainment that goes with the world championship,” Baumann said.