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FIBA announces historical West Asia Super League launch

MIES (Switzerland) - It was a significant day in the history of basketball and an iconic moment when on August 22 of this year, FIBA announced the launch of the inaugural FIBA West Asia Super League (FIBA WASL).

The WASL is the result of FIBA reinforcing their focus on developing the National Federations and national teams through acknowledging and respecting the impact and importance of national leagues, comprising of clubs in the evolution of national team basketball.

WASL provides a pathway toward the FIBA Intercontinental Cup for the top 18 clubs across 11 countries in four of the six Sub-Zones in the FIBA Asia Region. The teams in West Asia and Gulf will play in their Sub-Zones leagues to advance forward to the Final 8 against teams from South and Central Asia. From there, qualified teams will proceed to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup which is where they can earn their spot in FIBA's prestigious club competition, the FIBA Intercontinental Cup.

FIBA Intercontinental Cup 2022 Champions, Flamengo

"Success in the WASL is the stepping stone of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup and at a later stage to the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, therefore making this effort all the more purposeful and interesting," said FIBA Executive Director Asia Hagop Khajirian at the historic draw of the Sub-Zone leagues which was held on October 28, 2022, in Beirut, Lebanon.

“I really wish I had this competition during my time,” said Asian and Qatar basketball legend Yasseen Ismail who was also present at the draw.

Yasseen Ismail at the FIBAWASL Draw

The results of the draw generated a buzz straight away as the fans were guaranteed matchups between Iran’s Shahrdari Gorgan and Lebanon's Al Riyadi Beirut, Syria's Ittihad Ahli of Aleppo, Jordanian Orthodox Club Amman, as well as Bahrain's Manama Club and Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr.

While these are among the top clubs in each of their respective countries, it's not a common occurrence to witness them go up against each other with stakes as high as here in WASL.

"West Asia Super League is expected to significantly raise the standards of club competitions in the region and eventually support the development of National Teams in Asia," added FIBA Executive Director Asia, Hagop Khajirian.

"The continuous support from National Federations of the four Sub-Zones in the region has been tremendous. Numerous meetings throughout the past year involving all relevant stakeholders of this project have set the grounds for a very promising and exciting new League," he concluded.

The historic tip-off of the first FIBA WASL game on December 19 between Al Bashaer and Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai 

The first-ever FIBA WASL season tipped off on December 19 and will conclude in May 2023. From the 2023-2024 season onwards, FIBA WASL will have an eight-month span, which will begin in October and conclude in May.