TOKYO (FIBA Central Board) – A productive meeting of FIBA’s Central Board concluded in Tokyo on Sunday.
Mr Saburo Kawabuchi, the Chairman of the Japan 2024 Task Force and newly-appointed President of the Japan Basketball Association (JBA), officially welcomed the members of the Board on behalf of the country’s National Federation, which hosted the three-day event.
Chief among the Board’s important decisions over the weekend was to lift the suspension placed on the JBA in late 2014, to exceptionally give permission to Russian athletes to participate in upcoming FIBA events and to grant automatic qualification to Brazil’s men’s and women’s national teams to compete in the Olympic Basketball Tournament at the 2016 Rio Games.
Other key decisions included:
- The suspension of the Pakistan Basketball Federation was lifted.
- The Board approved the request for membership of the British Basketball Federation, valid as of 1 October 2016, bringing to a successful end a process initiated in 2005, when London was awarded the 2012 Olympic Games. With this approval, the National Federations of England, Scotland and Wales will rescind their membership to FIBA on 30 September 2016 as they will operate internationally as of that date under the British Basketball Federation umbrella only.
- The national federation of Timor-Leste was moved from the FIBA Asia Zone and reassigned to the FIBA Oceania Zone to facilitate the development of the game in the country and the participation of its athletes in international competitions.
Spain was chosen to organise the fourth editions of the FIBA U17 World Championships for Men and Women in 2016, as part of a youth world basketball festival.
- The format for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for Men will see three Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQTs) consisting of six teams each, with the winning team from each event earning a berth for Rio 2016. The Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for Women will remain with its proven format of a 12-teams tournament, from which 5 teams will qualify to Rio 2016. The four tournaments (3 men and 1 Women) will be held in June/July 2016.
- The Board approved the continental competition formats of FIBA’s new competition system which comes into effect in 2017.
- Following the decision that the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup be played in China, the Board approved the bidding process to select the host for the 2023 edition. In early 2016, FIBA will officially open the bidding process by sending out a circular letter to all its National Member Federations. The process will conclude in December 2016, when final bid presentations are to be selected and the choice of the host is to be made.
Institutional matters were also discussed at length.
After seven months under the ‘ONE FIBA’ governance model, the Board received a general update, as well as a status report on the transformation of the five zones – Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania – into FIBA subsidiaries.
The Central Board followed the lead of the Executive Committee in holding discussions on how to further improve FIBA’s governance, in tune with the wider discussions that are occurring within the world of sport. To that end, a working group has been mandated to revise inter alia the internal control systems, to improve the process of awarding continental championships as well as to analyse more thoroughly the statutes of its National Federations and to come forward with proposals for potential changes or improvements in these areas, as needed.
With regards to FIBA’s members, the Board re-emphasised the fact that the development of all National Federations is one of the key pillars for the 2014-2019 term of office. Consequently, a plan to support them has been approved. A report about the status of women’s basketball was presented to the Board which approved the implementation of concrete measures to help its development based on four priorities: 1. Recruitment and retention of female players; 2. Rules; 3. Competitions and calendar; 4. Brand, look and image.
The Board also approved changes to the FIBA Internal Regulations. Among them, provisions regarding the release of national team players by the clubs were amended in order to address some of the concerns expressed by clubs and leagues over the past year, including shortened release periods, guaranteed insurance coverage and the establishment of a permanent working group on League matters.
The success of 3×3 at continental events such as at the 2014 Asian Beach Games and at the first-ever European Games this past June were highlighted and FIBA’s ambition to include 3×3 as an additional discipline to the sport of basketball at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was re-affirmed.
Finally, The Board approved the audited financial statements for 2014, which ended with a very positive result following the successful 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.