22nd May, 2022
The Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur (FIBA) has threatened Nigeria with sanctions if it follows through with its decision to abstain from international competitions.
President Muhammadu Buhari had approved, with immediate effect, the withdrawal of Nigeria from all international basketball competitions for two years.
This comes after a lingering leadership rift in the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF).
In a letter addressed to the factional president, Musa Ahmadu-Kida signed by Jaime Lamboy, Head of Legal, FIBA, the World basketball body said Nigeria was at risk of breaching Article 9.7 of FIBA’s General Statutes.
It states that the “national member federations shall manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.”
While Article 10.2 gives the Secretary-General, FIBA Central Board, the authority to 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).
In response to a letter earlier written 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 are aware, any withdrawal of Nigeria from the above-mentioned 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.”
“Accordingly, we request from the NBBF to immediately inform FIBA whether its participation in the above-mentioned 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” it read.