Here’s the letter that was sent to the Lebanese Basketball Federation by the FIBA explaining the reasons behind the suspension:
Dear Mr. President,
Dear Mr. Secretary General,
We acknowledge receipt of the documents and information requested in our email of 16 July 2013 following your request to reconsider the suspension of your federation. This information undoubtedly allows us to shed more light on the current situation in Lebanon. Thank you for your cooperation in submitting this information promptly.
At the outset, we wish to reiterate that the suspension of your federation has not been a decision taken hastily by FIBA. It was indeed approved by the FIBA Central Board due to events of the utmost gravity whereby one club has been able, with external political support, to disrupt entirely the smooth running of the Lebanese National Championship. It has also been able to obtain a decision by a state civil court cancelling technical and sporting decisions taken by your federation.
This scenario represents without any doubt the most serious violation of the FIBA General Statutes and all principles under which the Olympic sports movement is founded. Despite the financial impact or political intersts that sport generate, it is clear that it must remain at all costs a competition whereby merit, integrity and fair play prevail.
This matter demonstrates a profound dysfunction of the Lebanese Basketball Federation since one club alone has been able to stop your championship. In complete violation of the FIBA General Statutes and the obligations of all national member federations of FIBA, your federation was not and still is not properly armed to face political interferences and solve sporting disputes within its own structures.
The FIBA Central Board was therefore of the firm belief that the Lebanese Basketball family must now assume the consequences of its organizational deficiencies and actions. For as long as key governance principles are not implemented in the statutes of your federation and in the latter’s policies and managament, and approved/agreed to by all stakeholders it shall not be readmitted with full rights with FIBA and be allowed to participate in the most important international basketball competitions.
The letter is very clear and the reasons for the suspension are two:
- One club has been able, with external political support, to disrupt entirely the smooth running of the Lebanese National Championship.
- The Federation was not and still is not properly armed to face political interferences and solve sporting disputes within its own structures.
I think at this point, the real problem is not the suspension itself but the way the Lebanese Federation and concerned teams dealt with the FIBA warnings, and the way a lot of fans are reacting to this decision by blaming either Amchit or the Federation. Having said that, I recommend that everyone re-reads the statement issued by FIBA and understand that both the team and the federation are the problem, but the one to get the bigger blame is always the person in charge and that’s the Federation in that case.
There’s nothing political about it, and it saddens me to read some of the comments on the various Lebanese Basketball Facebook pages, but the fact that one team was able to disrupt the whole season is a clear proof the current Federation was unable to assume its responsibilities (Without mentioning the financial scandal). Lebanon is not the only country where political parties try to influence sports teams or invest money in sports to gain popularity, but that’s where the Federation plays its role in keeping the sport and the teams away from such considerations. President Choueiri succeeded in doing that in tougher days and with Sagesse Team against all odds, not because he poured money or was politically powerful but because he was able to find a compromise between all parties while focusing on improving the sport and helping Lebanon win international tournaments and even qualify for the World Cup.
Unfortunately though, We will never have someone like Choueiri again, which is why it’s time to elect a new federation and come up with new bylaws that prevent incidents like the ones that happened this year and the years before. In order to make that happen, all teams should sit down, propose new ideas and figure a way out of this mess once and for all. I hear some teams are considering launching the Super League but I don’t have a lot of details on it yet.
I’ve already posted several times on how politics should be kept away from sports in Lebanon, and even proposed some ideas to make this happen.