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    One more hurdle to deal with for Gilas Pilipinas as Fiba ban on Lebanon lifted

    May 8, 2014
    Arkansas senior guard Kikko Haydar has signed a contract to play professional basketball in his home country of Lebanon after he graduates, the US NCAA Division I side has announced. AP

    BEIRUT — The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) has reinstated Lebanon's membership, inviting the country to resume international competition after a 10-month ban.

    In a letter addressed to Walid Nasser, the president of the Lebanese Basketball Federation, Fiba said the LBF is "reinstated with full rights" and "teams may take part in all Fiba competitions and activities."

    Fiba officials announced the decision on Thursday.

    Lebanon was suspended last July because of political and judicial interference in the Lebanese championship, and the LBF's inability to resolve the dispute.

    The decision prevented the national team, one of the strongest in the region, from taking part in the Asia Championship in the Philippines last August where Gilas Pilipinas finished runner-up behind Iran to earn a place in the coming Fiba World Cup in Spain.

    Fiba said it hopes "events which caused the suspicion ... are behind us."

    Basketball is one of Lebanon's most popular sports, and top clubs are owned or funded by politicians, including the president's family and Cabinet ministers.

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    Arkansas senior guard Kikko Haydar has signed a contract to play professional basketball in his home country of Lebanon after he graduates, the US NCAA Division I side has announced. AP
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