Lithuania protests FIBA decision to shorten national anthem

Lithuania's basketball supporters, DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius expressed hope that sports authorities will “come to their senses”, as playing three verses of the four-verse national anthem demonstrates disrespect to the state.

“FIBA is completely inflexible. Making a problem because of 15 seconds is not normal. A national anthem is not just a tune, it is a symbol of the state. Sports bureaucrats should come to their senses and realize that basketball is a feast, and playing national anthem is more than just a formality. We do not understand such decisions,” the minister told BNS.

His deputy Neris Germanas on Tuesday send an official letter to FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann, saying that Lithuanians interpret the incomplete version of the national anthem as disrespect.

In the diplomats’ words, Lithuania’s Ambassador in Geneva Rytis Paulauskas has personally discussed the issue with Baumann.

The complete national anthem of Lithuania was played during the World Cup match with Mexico.

Under FIBA rules, national anthems cannot be played for more than 75 seconds.

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