FIBA sanctions Canada Basketball, levies $227K fine
Canada/IBNS: Canada Basketball President and CEO Glen Grunwald was fined up to $227,138 for the sport by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and also threatened by it for docking Canada's national team a point in the standings for having chosen not to attend a FIBA AmeriCup qualifier in November on the advice of medical experts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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 Basketball said in a release Wednesday 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."
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.
"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."
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.
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 US Virgin Islands, playing in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
As for the COC, CEO, and secretary-general, David Shoemaker 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.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)