Fiba clears Russia for return, imposes ban on Mexican federation

The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) has lifted the suspension placed on the Russian Basketball Federation (RBF), but has elected to ban the Mexican Basketball Federation (ADEMEBA) due to an “unresolved institutional situation”.

Fiba suspended the RBF in July – a little over a month before Russia’s men’s national team was scheduled to compete in the 2015 EuroBasket competition, amid reported concern over the interference of Russian courts in the running of the organisation. Years of instability at the RBF culminated in a June court decision that forced the federation to hold new presidential elections.

August’s elections saw former NBA star Andrei Kirilenko, who turned out for the likes of the Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and Brooklyn Nets during an NBA career that ended in 2014, elected as the RBF’s new president. Fiba has now lifted the suspension imposed on the RBF following the receipt of a report by a Fiba Task Force, which outlined that the three main issues which gave rise to the suspension had been dealt with by RBF in a “very positive” manner.

The report noted that RBF clarified its relationship with the Russian-organised pan-European United League through the signature of an agreement whereby RBF acts as the sole governing body for basketball in Russia, therefore having the right to organise, supervise, endorse and/or assign the management of the Russian club competitions.

It also noted the successful RBF presidential election process, along with the adoption of new statutes on November 18 which comply with the Fiba General Statutes and Internal Regulations.

However, as Russia exited suspension Fiba elected to impose a ban on Mexico. Over the summer, Fiba and Fiba Americas representatives met with the Mexican Minister for Sport who confirmed that the Mexican state authorities in charge of sport (CONADE) would be in a position to formally recognise ADEMEBA within a period of several weeks.

However, Fiba stated that despite granting ADEMEBA additional time to formalise such recognition by CONADE, ADEMEBA has still not been recognised as the governing body for basketball in Mexico. Fiba added that it rejected a further request for postponement deeming a further delay unacceptable in light of upcoming competitions in 2016.

Fiba said in a statement: “In line with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendations, Fiba's Executive Committee notes and supports the fact that the Mexican sport authorities seek to improve proper governance in national sport organisations. At the same time, however, Fiba's Executive Committee considers that the recognition process of ADEMEBA cannot be combined with the composition of the decisional bodies within ADEMEBA as suggested by CONADE. This is a clear interference in the autonomy of the national federation, causing unacceptable instability within ADEMEBA's structures and management.

“In addition, two organisations still exist in the country and allegedly act as the national governing bodies for basketball and a number of independent leagues operate in Mexico without proper coordination with and through a recognised national governing body. These elements not only violate the Fiba General Statutes but also prevent a healthy governance of the sport in the country, as highlighted in a number of administrative difficulties with other Fiba members and in the organisation of the Fiba Americas Championship in Mexico this summer.”

Fiba added that the suspension will stand until the institutional situation in Mexico permits ADEMEBA to function and manage its affairs autonomously, with the full recognition and support of all relevant national sport and state authorities.