Reuters | September 1, 2010
By Alexandra Hudson

(Reuters) – Cheerleaders donned black leggings and white T-shirts for a World Championship basketball match between Iran and the United States in Istanbul on Wednesday to respect cultural sensitivities.

Some Iranian officials still left the arena shortly before their routine began, however. At previous matches officials had stood up and turned their backs.

Cheerleaders were missing altogether from Turkey’s last two matches in Ankara, raising eyebrows in the overwhelmingly Muslim but officially secular nation, particularly as scantily-clad cheerleaders had been present at other matches.

Patrick Baumann, secretary-general of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), said “special arrangements” had been made with the dancers’ dress on Wednesday.

“We want entertainment to be part of the basketball game. If it needs a little bit of adjustment that is fine with us,” he told a news conference.
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