After kicking African champions D’Tigress out of the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, the Federation of International Basketball Associations has threatened further sanctions against Nigeria, newsmen reports.
The decision to have Nigeria banned from the World Cup in Sydney, Australia came after the Federal Government withdrew from international basketball competitions.
Sports minister Sunday Dare, stated that the withdrawal, which took effect three weeks ago, was part of government’s efforts to restore the sport from the grassroots, as well as put an end to the lingering leadership crises that had rocked the factionalised Nigeria Basketball Federation for close to a decade.
A week after the withdrawal, FIBA, in a letter addressed to factional Nigeria Basketball Federation president Musa Ahmadu-Kida, signed by Jaime Lamboy, Head of Legal, FIBA and dated May 18, 2022, warned Nigeria of possible sanctions.
FIBA, in the letter, stated that Nigeria was at the risk of further sanctions, saying the withdrawal was in breach of Article 9.7 of FIBA’s General Statutes, which states, “National member federations shall manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.”
Article 10.2 of the FIBA Statutes added that on the initiative of the Secretary-General, FIBA Central Board may suspend a national member federation for the breach of Article 9.7.
After fruitless deliberations to have the ministry rescind its decision and have the African champions compete at the World Cup, FIBA wielded the big stick.
The global body stated that Nigeria was withdrawn from the tournament due to NBBF’s failure to confirm D’Tigress participation in the tournament.
“FIBA was informed about the decision of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to withdraw the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) from all international basketball competitions and activities for a period of two years,” FIBA wrote on its website.
“In subsequent communications with the NBBF, and despite FIBA’s request, it has become clear that against the circumstances created by the government’s decision, the NBBF is unable to confirm its participation in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022.
“Given the multiple strict deadlines that cannot be postponed in order to ensure the successful staging of a major international event (visa procedures, schedules, ticket sales, accommodations, friendly games, preliminary rosters, flight tickets, accreditations, etc.) and to protect the integrity of the competition, the FIBA Executive Committee has decided as follows: Nigeria’s withdrawal from the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 is confirmed.”
FIBA also confirmed that Mali had been invited to replace D’Tigress in Australia.
“Mali, as the next ranked team from Group B of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, is invited to participate in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022,” FIBA added.
D’Tigress had qualified for the World Cup after defeating France and Mali in Group B of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade.
The statement also added that FIBA would announce potential further disciplinary measures.
“FIBA will announce whether there will be any other decisions related to the NBBF’s participation in other FIBA competitions and any potential disciplinary measures in due course,” the statement concluded.
Nigeria may miss out from the 2024 Olympic Games, as well as the 2025 World Championships, if FIBA further sanctions the country, it was learnt.
Similarly, the country will also be unable to compete at the next two Afrobasket Championships (male and female).
FIBA detests “third party interference” and previously wielded the big stick against countries who fell foul. Kuwait was suspended in 2015 over political interference, while Mexico was also banned for the same offence same year. Lebanon was suspended over government interference two years earlier.
Meanwhile, aggrieved Basketball stakeholders in the South South zone, through the South South Basketball Assembly, in a letter signed by Ekanem Ekpenyoung, the Cross Rivers State Basketball chairman, have collectively agreed not to participate in any tournament organised by the ministry.
“South South stakeholders will not embark on another wild goose chase if the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development does not hands off the administration of basketball in Nigeria and only play its oversight functions as embedded in the approved constitution of the NBBF,” the statement read in part.