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    Any change to Fiba eligibility rules requires careful study, says Hagop

    Jun 5, 2021

    FOR the most influential official of Fiba in Asia, any review on the controversial eligibility rules for dual citizens must be studied thoroughly before any change is made.

    "We are open for any change of rules if the proposal or logic presented can help in developing basketball worldwide," Fiba Asia executive director Hagop Khajirian told Radyo5's Power and Play with Noli Eala on Saturday.

    The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has long sought amendments in the eligibility rules, which only considers players as locals if they were able to obtain the passports of the country they want to represent before turning 16.

    That rule has kept the likes of NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz, as well as Christian Standhardinger, Stanley Pringle, Chris Ross, and Mo Tautuaa from playing as locals for Gilas Pilipinas in Fiba-sanctioned competitions.

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      The SBP has championed their cases for years, fighting for the players' rights to be considered as locals based on their lineage.

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      Khajirian understands the sentiments, though argued that it still requires an overall reassessment if such changes truly will benefit global basketball as a whole.

      "Even if there are proposals to study the cases and the possibility of increasing the number of naturalized players in any national team, we have to take into consideration: Does this change help in developing basketball worldwide? Does this change help improve basketball on a national level? So these are our concerns and not individual cases if we can do this or do that," the Lebanese executive said.

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        "Everybody has to take into consideration to keep the balance between the naturalized players and local players. The main purpose is to develop the basketball in the country, to develop the local players in each country. The others who join aspiring or getting their nationality must not be adopted for good or else we will never develop basketball in any country."

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        Those sensitive matters are what Fiba will consider before making any reforms to its rules and guidelines, he added.

        "I am sure that even in the Philippines, when you are ready to make any changes within your local rules, we take into consideration what is good for the basketball in the Philippines. It's the same approach you will see in Fiba," Khajirian said.

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