FIBA bans Russian teams indefinitely in response to Ukraine conflict
With conflict in the Ukraine continuing to intensify, FIBA has now moved to ban Russian teams from participation in their tournaments until further notice.
The list of sporting bodies that are standing united against Russia continues to grow as the sad situation in the Ukraine continues to escalate.
FIBA suspends Russian teams indefinitely
On Tuesday, FIBA joined the likes of FIFA, UEFA and the Olympic committee in enforcing a ban on Russian teams. According to reports all teams and officials have been suspended from international basketball competitions - including 3x3 - until further notice. The decision of course, comes in response to Russia's recent invasion of the Ukraine.
The FIBA statement on the matter in full reads as follows:
"FIBA remains very concerned by the recent events in Ukraine and expresses its deepest sympathies to the victims. In line with the International Olympic Committee Executive Board resolution and its reasons, FIBA has announced today that Russian teams and officials will not be allowed to participate in FIBA Basketball and 3x3 Basketball competitions until further notice. FIBA will communicate any further decisions taken by the Central Board at its meeting on March 25, as well as by FIBA's European Zone bodies in the next coming days FIBA strongly condemns violence and hopes peace will urgently prevail."
What does FIBA's ban mean for Russian men and women's teams?
The Russian men's national team recently played on February 24th in a 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifying match against the Netherlands. The Russians who won the game 80-69 are actually the current leaders of Group H of the European qualification region. While there is time before their next match - Russia plays Italy on July 1st - it is certainly not an ideal situation for the team and will most definitely come as a blow to their qualification hopes and preparation plans.
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Where the Russian women's national team is concerned, they will be thankful no doubt, having qualified for the 2022 FIBA Women's World Cup, which is set to take place in Australia between Sept. 22 and Oct. 1. On the other hand they are not in the clear yet as the draw for the World Cup is set for March 3rd. It remains unclear as to whether or not the women's team will be included in the draw with the World Cup itself still many months away.
FIBA joins IOC and FIFA
The news of FIBA's sanction against Russia comes days after two other major sporting bodies made similar moves. The IOC and FIFA have also moved to ban and suspend Russian teams and athletes. The IOC ruled that Russia (and Belarus) "have broken the Olympic Truce" and even went a step further when they urged sporting organizations to ban athletes from those countries from competing in international events. FIFA was one of the first organizations to follow suit as they suspended the Russian soccer teams from international competitions, including World Cup qualifying. Where the situation goes from here is yet to be determined, but one thing remains clear, more and more sporting bodies are taking a hard line stance with the Russian government as they attempt to force an end to the hostilities being witnessed in the Ukraine.