Updated: Wednesday, 03 September 2014 23:18 | By Agence France-Presse

Lithuania outraged by anthem cut at Basketball World Cup

Lithuania on Wednesday formally demanded that the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) stop cutting short its national anthem at the ongoing World Cup in Spain.


Lithuania outraged by anthem cut at Basketball World Cup

Lithuania centre Ksistof Lavrinovic (L) vies with Australia forward David Andersen (R) during the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships match at the Gran Canaria Arena in Gran Canaria on September 2, 2014 - by Gerard Julien

FIBA have imposed a 75-second limit for the national anthems ahead of matches, spiking about a quarter of Lithuania's hymn. 

"Cutting the anthem short shows a lack of respect for our country, and the FIBA is being very inflexible. Sports bureaucrats should come to their senses," foreign minister Linas Linkevicius told AFP Wednesday.

The move has sparked outrage in Lithuania, a basketball-mad Baltic nation of three million currently ranked world number four by FIBA.

Linkevicius said that according to FIBA, it cuts all national anthems to 75 seconds "due to TV reasons and the comfort of athletes", claims Lithuania has dismissed as being absurd.

The foreign ministry sent a formal letter to FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann, saying that playing only a part of the anthem "upset many Lithuanians and provoked the media to express discontent".

The men's squad won bronze at the 2010 World Championship and were runners-up at last year's European Championship.

So far, they have won two games and lost one at the World Cup in Gran Canaria where up to three thousand fans clad in the national colours of yellow, green and red arrived to support their heroes.

Team spokesman Linas Kunigelis told AFP on Wednesday that "the fight with FIBA over the anthem has been going on for several years."

The World Cup runs until September 14.

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