The Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA) has warned that Nigeria faces sanctions following its decision to withdraw from international competitions for two years.
FIBA stated this in a letter addressed to factional Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBF) president, Musa Ahmadu-Kida signed by Jaime Lamboy, Head of Legal, FIBA and dated May 18, 2022.
Recall that last week, sports minister, Sunday Dare, through the Permanent Secretary of the sports ministry, Ismaila Abubakar, stated that President Muhammadu Buhari had given approval, with immediate effect, to withdraw Nigeria from all international basketball competitions for two years, following lingering leadership rift in the NBBF.
The minister added that the withdrawal would help the country revamp the sport from the grassroots, as well as put an end to the basketball crises.
The decision, however, was opposed by Nigeria’s female basketball team, D’Tigress which insisted on going for the upcoming women’s basketball world cup.
FIBA, in the statement, warned that Nigeria was at the risk of being sanctioned, 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.
If the sanction is approved, it means Nigeria will miss out on the 2024 Olympic Games, as well as the 2025 World Championships for the male and female teams.
Similarly, Nigeria will also be unable to compete at the next two Afrobasket Championships (male and female).
Reacting to a letter earlier written to them by the Ahmadu-Kida-led NBBF board, FIBA stated, “In such letter, you pre-emptively informed FIBA of the apparent decision by the Nigerian Government (Federal Ministry of Youth & Sports Development) intending to have Nigeria take a break from all international engagements for two years and enabling an Interim Management Committee to run the affairs of the basketball in Nigeria.
“As you already are aware, Nigeria is due to participate in the following FIBA competitions in the upcoming months: FIBA 2023 Basketball World Cup Qualifiers (FBWC23 Qualifiers) FIBA 2022 Women’s Basketball World Cup (FWBWC22)
“As you are aware, any withdrawal of Nigeria from the abovementioned competitions will trigger potential disciplinary sanctions as per the FIBA Internal Regulations. Furthermore, if the absence of Nigeria from international competitions for the next two years materialises, the consequences may spread out well past such a two-year period.
“For example, please note that the withdrawal from the FBWC23 Qualifiers is also a withdrawal from the Paris 2024 Olympic qualification process. Similarly, depending on third-party results, the same situation could apply with respect to FIBA AfroBasket 2025.”
The statement added, “Accordingly, we request from the NBBF to immediately inform FIBA whether its participation in the abovementioned competitions is or not ratified.
“We take the opportunity to remind the NBBF of its obligations to manage its affairs with no influence from third parties, as per Article 9.6 of FIBA General Statutes.”
“I send you and your Federation’s staff my Best Wishes for health and safety.”