When Serbia won the FIVB (Federation Internationale de Volleyball) European championship Sunday evening to earn a spot in the 2018 FIVB Women's World Championship in Japan, they celebrated with team photos.
One of those photos showed players pulling back their eyes, seemingly as a gesture about the championships being in Japan.
The photo appeared first on FIVB's website with a story about Serbia's win against Poland. The photo has since been removed.
"The FIVB is aware that the photographs of the Serbian women’s volleyball team celebrating qualification for the World Championships in Japan next year was culturally insensitive," the organization said in a statement. "The FIVB does not condone the actions of the Serbian team and has requested the removal of these photos from official volleyball websites. The FIVB will work with the Serbian Volleyball Federation to ensure that the players understand that their behavior has led to undesirable consequences and that such culturally insensitive actions do not happen again. The FIVB is committed to fostering cultural understanding and awareness and will continue to work with all its member federations to guarantee that this is reflected at national level and in the volleyball community worldwide."
The World Championships will be Sept. 30-Oct. 21 and so far Serbia, Japan, which is in as hosts and the defending champs Team USA are in the tournament. There will be 24 teams competing.
Contributing: A.J. Perez