FIBA asks government to recognise Govindaraj-led BFI

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has once again asked the Indian government to grant recognition to the country’s member federation ratified by it.

In a letter addressed to Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday, the FIBA said the K. Govindaraj-led Basketball Federation of India (BFI) is facing hurdles in discharging its duty as the rival faction is dissuading some of the state units and their players from taking part in competitions organised by the BFI as well as international tournaments.

The Govindaraj-led faction of the BFI is not recognised by the sports ministry.

“To our utmost concern, we have indeed received evidence and copies of correspondence by persons who were directly or indirectly part of the parallel general meeting held in Pune the day after holding the valid BFI general meeting, threatening and dissuading players and state unit associations to take part in competitions organised by the BFI/FIBA,” FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann said in the letter.

“While it is not unusual for officials involved within the sports political sphere to have disagreements, FIBA cannot accept that players who have nothing to do with the political matters and personal arguments be held hostages and prevented from representing their country in major international competitions.

“Not only are these threats disrespectful towards the hard work these players and these coaches went through in order to be at the required level but it is also a direct insult to the State of India whose national team has been missing out on key players due to this institutional turmoil,” Baumann, also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) added.

“Just a few days ago your national team reached the quarter-finals of FIBA’s flagship event in Asia after a gap of 12 years. However, key players were not allowed to take part in this championship due to various threats allegedly motivated by the absence of BFI recognition by your ministry,” the secretary general added.

“FIBA is therefore of firm opinion that this matter can’t continue any longer and we would respectfully request your ministry to act without delay in the interest of the athletes, coaches, clubs, parents, sponsors and fans who invest considerable time and resources in our sport, by granting, without delay, the necessary recognition to the BFI headed by Govindaraj and recognised by FIBA.”

The FIBA also felt that all the stakeholders of Indian basketball should be united, hoping that Harish Sharma, the faction leader, can contribute as an active member.

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