The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) threatened to sanction Nigeria over its decision to withdraw from international competitions for two years.
This was conveyed in a letter signed by the World basketball body’s Head of Legal, Jaime Lamboy, and dated May 18, 2022.
Recall that few weeks ago, President Muhammadu Buhari approved with immediate effect, Nigeria’s withdrawal from all international basketball competitions for two years, following a lingering leadership rift in the NBBF.
Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, had explained that the withdrawal would help the country revamp the sport from the grassroots, as well as put an end to the basketball crises.
However the World basketball body said Nigeria’s decision was in breach of Article 9.7 of FIBA’s General Statutes, which states that a “National member federations shall manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.”
In the letter addressed to Nigeria Basketball Federation President, Musa Ahmadu-Kida, it was also stated that FIBA may invoke Article 10.2 of the FIBA Statutes which says FIBA Central Board may suspend a national member federation for the breach of Article 9.7 on the initiative of the Secretary-General.
This would mean that Nigeria will miss out on the 2024 Olympic Games, as well as the 2025 World Championships for the male and female teams.
“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,” the letter read.
“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.”
“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.”