#InternationalBasketballFederation; #CanadaBasketball; #FIBAAmeriCupqualifier; #Fined; #Covid19; #CanadianOlympicCommittee
Canada/Canadian-Media: International Basketball Federation (FIBA) sanctions Canada Basketball President and CEO Glen Grunwald as well as levies a fine up to $227,138 for the sport and threatened to dock Canada's national team a point for having chosen not to attend a FIBA AmeriCup qualifier in November on the advice of medical experts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
International Basketball Federation. Image credit: Facebook page
In a release on Wednesday, Canada Basketball said that not only would its participation have directly contradicted the mandates of the federal government "but also the directive of our chief medical officer and other medical professionals throughout Canada's sport system, including those with Canada Basketball, Sport Canada, Own The Podium, the Return to Sports Task Force, and the Canadian Olympic Committee."
"I didn't expect this, actually," Grunwald said. "So then for this to come out of the blue when I had been advised earlier that if we were not participating because of medical reasons, it would not be any penalties. So, again, very disappointed and a bit disillusioned with the approach," CBC News reports said.
Canada would only be fined half the amount and would not lose a point if it chooses to attend the February tournament, said FIBA in a statement on Wednesday. If not, those sanctions would remain in place.
FIBA said that failing to qualify for the AmeriCup would end Canada's Paris 2024 Olympic bid, but the games have no bearing on qualification for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
"It is kind of a threat. We're working really hard and our medical staff has been awesome," Grunwald said. "One of the great things about the Canadian sport community is we're all working together in this very difficult time."
Grunwald said Canada Basketball is hopeful to participate in the third and final stage of AmeriCup qualifying, scheduled to be held Feb. 18-22, with Canada's group, including Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, playing in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
David Shoemaker, CEO, and secretary-general of Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) said the organization is extremely disappointed with this ruling and added the COC continues to stand by Canada Basketball's decision not to travel to the November qualifier in the midst of a pandemic.