Message from FIBA President Hamane Niang and Secretary General Andreas Zagklis
Dear Basketball Friends,
First of all, and most importantly, we hope that this message finds you and your families in good health and safe in these most difficult of times.
In these extraordinary circumstances, where virtually all of our 213 National Member Federations have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is paramount that the basketball community is an example of responsible behavior.
Whilst we would usually implore you to play basketball as often as you can, our message today is to help the greater cause of protecting public health. In no circumstance should our passion to play basketball surpass the importance of following the instructions of the public authorities. We thank you for your understanding, your patience and your cooperation so far.
Coronavirus has resulted in major disruption to the basketball calendar, which we appreciate has, and will continue to, cause concern and uncertainty for you all. Rest assured, every decision we are taking is motivated by safety considerations for players, coaches, officials and fans.
That is why on March 12, once it was evident that the outbreak was turning into a pandemic, FIBA became the first international federation to issue a general suspension of its competitions.
Many of these competitions are still to be completed and that remains our aim, but this will happen only if the conditions allow for it. We will not ask our players to go somewhere, where we would not send our own children.
At the same time, we do not want to leave our stakeholders in a state of uncertainty. You all deserve answers. That is why in cases where it quickly became clear that cancellation was the only option complying with our principles, we communicated this as soon as possible.
Whilst FIBA competitions are currently suspended, this does not mean that preparations for future FIBA competitions have stopped. We are in continuous communication with event hosts and will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis, as well as following the guidance of the World Health Organisation (WHO), public authorities and the FIBA Medical Commission.
In the coming weeks, a decision will be made regarding the Basketball Champions League, the Basketball Champions League Americas and the Basketball Africa League, after consultation with the respective leagues and clubs. The same applies to our international competitions suspended at sub-Zone level.
In terms of the Olympic Games, the IOC has made it clear that cancellation is not on the agenda. Yesterday, the IOC Executive Board announced that it is to start a four-week consultation phase with International Federations and other stakeholders regarding the possibility of postponement. FIBA is actively involved in this process. We understand that, as the qualification process has been completed only for women's basketball and there are no less than six Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (two for 3x3 basketball and four for men's basketball) still to be played, there is a growing need for answers to be provided quickly. FIBA's position remains that any decision in that regard must ensure that it provides safe conditions of participation for our players, coaches and officials.
Needless to say, we will keep you abreast of any developments in this rapidly changing landscape. Basketball games will be back and the basketball community will emerge stronger from this. But for now, please do everything you can to keep yourselves, your families and your communities safe.
Hamane Niang Andreas Zagklis
FIBA President FIBA Secretary General
(Photo: FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis, FIBA President Hamane Niang, February 4, 2020)