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FIBA to sanction Nigeria over D’Tigress’ World Cup withdrawal

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Following the decision of the Federal Government to withdraw African champions, D’Tigress, from the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, the Federation of International Basketball Associations has threatened further sanctions against Nigeria.

The decision to have Nigeria banned from the World Cup in Sydney, Australia came after the government withdrew from the international basketball competitions.

Sports Ministe,  Sunday Dare, stated that the withdrawal, which took effect three weeks ago, was part of the 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, 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 that “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The global body stated that Nigeria was withdrawn from the tournament due to NBBF’s failure to confirm D’Tigress’ participation in the tournament.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.

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