Following the decision by the Mr. Sunday Dare-led Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development (FMYSD) to take Nigeria out of all international basketball competitions for two years and to appoint an Interim Management Committee to run the affairs of basketball in the country, the basketball world governing body has warned that Nigeria risks sanctions if it withdraws from upcoming scheduled international competitions. FIBA gave this warning in a letter to the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) President, Engineer Ahmadu Musa Kida, dated May 18, 2022.
The letter, signed by Jaime Lamboy, FIBA Head of Legal Affairs, stated: “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 materializes, the consequences may spread out well past such two-year period. For example, please note that the withdrawal from 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.”
The letter, further requested the NBBF to “immediately inform FIBA whether its participation in the abovementioned competitions is or not ratified.” It further reminded the NBBF of its obligations to manage its affairs, “with no influence from third parties, as per Article 9.6 of FIBA General Statutes.”
It will be recalled that the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Dare, had announced recently that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved his request for the withdrawal of Nigeria from all international basketball competitions for two years for what he described as “infighting” within the Nigeria basketball family. In an earlier story, Basketball Ban: Killing our Soft Power, The Politico Online wondered how, if the minister’s claim that President Buhari approved the withdrawal were true, the Chief of Staff to the President and Professor of International Relations, Ibrahim Gambari, would allow such proposal to even get to the president given its dire consequences on Nigeria’s soft power in sports diplomacy.