THE International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has ordered Indonesia to push through with its hosting of the opening window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers this coming weekend, including its Feb. 23 match against Gilas Pilipinas.
While the world governing body for the sport has carefully considered the request of the Indonesian Basketball Association (IBA) to postpone and reschedule the two qualifying games the country is hosting starting on Feb. 20 against South Korea due to the worldwide outbreak of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it was determined that ‘there exist no exceptional circumstances warranting the postponement of the Games.’
FIBA Executive Director for Asia Hagop Khajirian pointed this out in a letter addressed to the IBA dated Feb. 17, a copy of which was obtained by SPIN.ph.
In the letter, FIBA acknowledged seriously contemplating on the IBA request as there is a need to protect the health and safety of the players and other participants, especially following the request of the Indonesian Ministry of Youth and Sports to postpone the games until further confirmation on health security is received from the Ministry of Health.
But FIBA noted that the letter coming from the Indonesian Ministry of Health focuses mainly on travel to and from the mainland China, which cannot be a consideration with respect to teams travelling from South Korea and the Philippines.
“Indeed, as noted in the letter, there is no travel warning or ban of citizens or persons travelling from South Korea or the Philippines at this time,” part of the letter read.
“Moreover, Indonesia has no reported cases of COVID-19.”
FIBA added the fact that the Indonesian government itself has not taken any action to ban mass gatherings generally, and at the same time, the body is aware that other international events, including sporting events, are planned to take place in Indonesia in the coming weeks.
In citing the above mentioned reasons, FIBA reminded the IBA that as a national member federation, it is obliged to participate in official international activities and competitions.
“Should IBA fail to adhere to its obligations, specifically through the failure to host the Games, it shall be liable to sanction in accordance to FIBA Internal Regulations,” the letter added.
A considerable disciplinary fine awaits the IBA in the event it doesn’t push through with its hosting of the qualifiers.
“It must be underscored that refusal to play the Games would also result in a forfeit, along with the applicable penalties,” added FIBA in its letter.
A cancellation of the Indonesian hosting of the qualifiers would have meant Gilas Pilipinas totally not playing in the opening window of the tournament.
FIBA had earlier cancelled the Philippines’ Feb. 20 hosting of Thailand due to the coronavirus.