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    Fiba says Andray Blatche should be eligible for Asian Games, asks Incheon Games organizers to review decision

    Sep 6, 2014

    GILAS Pilipinas got a huge backing from Fiba, which said that Andray Blatche should be eligible for the upcoming Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

    Fiba secretary general Patrick Baumann requested the Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee (Iagoc) to ‘review’ their decision not to allow one player from Gilas Pilipinas, obviously referring to Blatche, in the Asian Games.

    In the same letter addressed to Iagoc secretary general Kwon Kyungsang, director general of sports headquarters Jo Youngha, and director for sports entries department Mun Hosung, Baumann reminded the organizers Fiba’s rules, including eligibility, must be followed in all of its sanctioned events that includes the Asian Games.

    “I am sure therefore that there must be a misunderstanding and I would kindly request that you review your decision and ally Fiba’s regulations on eligibility for all teams participating in the basketball tournament at the Asian Games and re-enlist the Filipino player,” said Baumann.

    “This would certainly be fair for the athlete concerned and his country. Equally, if the same set of eligibility rules, namely that of the International Federation, is being applied to all international basketball events for national teams across the world, it ensures clarity for the media and the fans alike and credibility of the sport,” Baumann added.

    Fiba’s letter to Iagoc is a big boost for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ bid for Blatche to be cleared for Gilas Pilipinas in the Asian Games.

    Blatche is one of the key players in Gilas Pilipinas' run in the Fiba World Cup in Spain as he helped the team win its first game in the tournament in 40 years.

    Continue reading below ↓

    However, Gilas Pilipinas' bid for the country's first Asiad gold in basketball since 1962 suffered a blow with the Iagoc bent on using the Olympic Council of Asia’s rule on naturalized players that they should reside in the country for three consecutive years before being allowed to play for the country.

    But Fiba disagreed, saying that their rules should stand in all of their sanctioned referees, even citing an example Fiba’s international referees being used to officiate the games of the World Championships, Olympic Games, and even the Asian Games.

    In this case, due to Fiba’s rules on naturalized players, Blatche was able to play for the Philippines in the Fiba World Cup and should be able to do so in other Fiba sanctioned events.

    "We would like to inform you that the International Basketball Federation establishes the eligibility criteria for all basketball athletes worldwide for the purpose of their participation in national team competitions in official basketball competitions organized by or sanctioned by Fiba," Baumann said.

    The complete letter by Fiba is as follows:

    We have been informed that you are in charge of entering and accrediting various athletes for the upcoming Asian Games in Incheon and have just been informed that you have delisted from Entry one of the basketball athletes of the Philippine delegation.

    We would like to inform you that the International Basketball Federation establishes the eligibility criteria for all basketball athletes worldwide for the purpose of their participation in national team competitions in official basketball competitions organized by or sanctioned by Fiba.

    Continue reading below ↓

    The player that you have prohibited Entry plays is registered in FIBA’s eligibility system as a player for the Philippines and has, in fact, just played several games this past week at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain for that country. It is quite confusing to hear that he is now not allowed to compete for the same team just a few weeks later.

    You may not know, but—probably similar to other sports—FIBA’s eligibility rules apply, as an example, for all FIBA’s World Championships and for the Olympic Games. Also as an example, during an event like the Asian Games, FIBA’s International Referees officiate the Games and apply the Official Basketball Rules are edited by FIBA.

    I am sure therefore that there must be a misunderstanding and I would kindly request that you review your decision and ally FIBA’s regulations on eligibility for all teams participating in the basketball tournament the Asian Games and re-enlist the Filipino player. This would certainly be fair for the athlete concerned and his country. Equally, if the same set of eligibility rules, namely that of the International Federation, is being applied to all international basketball events for national teams across the world, it ensures clarity for the media and the fans alike and credibility for the sport.

    We look forward to hearing back from you on this matter and thank you for your understanding

    Wishing you a very successful event in Incheon, I remain

    Sincerely yours

    Continue reading below ↓

    Patrick Baumann

    Secretary General

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