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Fiba unveils global insurance scheme amid Euroleague battle

The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) has unveiled what it claims to be one of the biggest and most comprehensive reimbursement schemes in sport, as the battle continues between it and Euroleague Basketball.

The insurance scheme, which is being introduced ahead of the first games of the 2019 World Cup qualifiers, covers male and female players in senior, as well as U17, U18, U19 and U20 national teams, for temporary total disablement and surgical expenses.

The scheme ensures that Fiba can compensate clubs for players injured while with the national team with benefits based on their salaries and the number of days lost. Additionally, clubs will be compensated by Fiba for surgical medical expenses incurred during national team duty.

Fiba said the new scheme, arranged with global insurance group Arch, marks a “major step forward” in the protection of players. It covers four times as many players than the previous arrangement – including wheelchair players – and includes games across all regions.

By providing year-round cover at Fiba events, rather than in the summer only, the scheme is tailored to meet players’ needs under Fiba’s new calendar, introducing significant improvements to all the main conditions that applied in recent major competitions like EuroBasket 2017. Critically, Fiba said it reduces both the excess period and the scope of exemptions.

Patrick Baumann, Fiba secretary general, said: “This is great news for players who are the most important people in basketball. This new scheme has been introduced in recognition of the amazing contribution they make to national team competitions which are the locomotive of basketball.

“It is a priority for Fiba to protect the players who give everything for the national teams and this scheme ensures they don't have to worry about the financial implications of an injury which keeps them out of the game. It also respects the interests of the clubs who release players for national team competitions.”

Fiba and Euroleague Basketball, organising body of the EuroLeague, the top-tier club competition in European basketball, have been engaged in a long-running battle over the formation of the sport’s calendar. Player release for national team games and the potential workload for athletes have been at the heart of Euroleague’s concerns.

Fiba’s latest move comes after 31 members of the European Parliament last week signed a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude-Juncker and the EU Commissioners for Competition and for Culture, Youth and Sport calling for intervention to ensure EuroLeague teams release players to represent their national teams in World Cup qualifying games.