Basketball team to miss South Asian event

Published: May 9, 2014
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“Fiba’s suspension is baseless; they did not give us any show-cause notice prior to suspending our federation,” says Naeem Butt.

“Fiba’s suspension is baseless; they did not give us any show-cause notice prior to suspending our federation,” says Naeem Butt.

KARACHI: In another blow to Pakistan sports, the national basketball team has been prevented from taking part in the upcoming third South Asian Basketball Championship, scheduled to begin May 13 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Pakistan Basketball Federation (PBBF) Secretary Naseem Butt is, however, hopeful that the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) will allow their participation by lifting the suspension placed on the local body.

“I have written a letter to Fiba, providing them details about the team, but they haven’t responded yet,” Butt told The Express Tribune.

“Fiba’s suspension is baseless; they did not give us any show-cause notice prior to suspending our federation.”

The championship features five South Asian teams and also serves as qualifiers for the FIBA Asian Championship and the FIBA Asia Cup. Hosts Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka will compete in the five-day event while Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bhutan are not contesting. Pakistan concluded last year’s edition held in Dhaka, Bangladesh with a silver medal. The same year, the Fiba suspended Pakistan’s membership.

“The Fiba central board [in its meeting of June 20-21, 2013] has taken a firm approach considering that – in breach of Article 9.1 of the Fiba General Statutes – the [Pakistan] federation is no longer in good standing with the Pakistan Olympic Committee (POA) officially recognized by the IOC.”

The sanction comes after Pakistan Basketball Federation (PBBF) President Asif Bajwa was appointed head of the POA interim committee, a development that has angered the Fiba.

Excerpts of the letter read, “This Interim Committee is not recognized by the IOC. Much to our regret, we have also been informed that this illegal interim committee is headed by President of the Pakistan Basketball Federation, Asif Bajwa.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2014.

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