Category Archives: Sports

The Lebanese National Basketball Team Urges The Lebanese Federation To Resign

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The National Team is finally back to Lebanon and Coach Ghassan Sarkis held a press conference where he asked the Lebanese Federation on behalf of the Players to resign immediately. Sarkis “addressed the Federation’s President Robert Abou Abdallah saying: “I kindly tell you that you do not know how to run this game.”

This proves the points I raised earlier this week, that the Federation failed miserably and should resign immediately.

Let’s hope they do it ASAP and things go back to normal knowing that we have a very promising season next year.


The Reason Why The Lebanese Basketball Federation Got Suspended

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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.

FIBA Suspends Lebanon For Four Years

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VDL (100.5): FIBA has reportedly taken a decision to suspend for four year’s the Lebanese national basketball team’s participation at international tournaments.

The Lebanese Federation did not confirm or react to this decision but there’s no denying that we deserve this ban. The Lebanese Federation is a disgrace and needs to resign immediately specially after the flagrant financial scandal. I only feel bad for the players and the fans but I am almost sure we can reduce or remove this suspension once we have a decent federation and proper regulations to keep politics away from the sport.

Robert Abou Abdallah, President of the Lebanese Basketball Federation, stole $131,250

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I first read about this scandal in Annahar (before the article was removed), and I’ve been waiting since for the official statement by the federation’s committee which came out yesterday and confirmed the theft.

Dr. Robert Abou Abdallah collected over #130,000 from Boudy Maalouli’s NewLook Production and did not declare them but instead used them for personal purposes. Meanwhile, the National Team was stuck in Taiwan with no money for the return trip and the players were forced to stay on schedule and go to the Philippines and wait there until things are resolved in Lebanon.

I think this federation should resign ASAP and make way for new elections and a new president. This is a disgrace to the sport and to Lebanon!

Žydrūnas Savickas “Big Z” Coming To The International Strongman Challenge in Beirut

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I usually follow the World’s Strongest Man competitions and I remember watching Big Z win year after year. He’s the only competitor to have won every major strongman competition and he’s coming to Beirut for the The International Strongman Challenge that will be held in Dekwaneh at the Golden Body Club on Sunday 28 August 2013.

I’ve never been to one of those competitions, so I am gonna ask around see if we can meet this big guy and take a picture with him.

Update: Lebanese Basketball Federation to face suspension

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The ultimatum set by the FIBA has officially passed and no action has been taken to comply with the FIBA’s requirements, which means that the Lebanese Basketball Federation is technically suspended and Lebanon will be replaced by Iraq in the upcoming Asian Championship. Meanwhile the Lebanese National Team has been performing poorly at the Jones cup despite a promising start.

I read that the Federation asked the FIBA to extend the deadline till Monday but part of me wants this suspension to take place so that everyone realizes the harm they’ve done. The funny part is that the Federation only needed to resign to set things straight but they wanted Mouttahed and Amchit to drop their lawsuits first (and vice versa), so it doesn’t get more childish than that.

I noticed Lebanese Basketball fans are making the #PrayForLebaneseBasketball trend on Twitter. I think it’s better if the fans and teams go protest in front of the federation instead of asking for online prayers.

Update: FIBA to Consider Unfreezing Lebanon’s Basketball Membership after Local Disputes Resolved

Gloria Nasr completes her run from Paris to Beirut

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Gloria Nasr ran all the way from Paris to Beirut covering around 4000 km. She started her run for Peace back in April and was expected to arrive in August, however she was unable to run across Syria due to the situation there (I was wondering back in April if it’s safe to run across Syria) and had to stop in Turkey.

I know it must have been frustrating for Gloria but what she did was incredible and one heck of an achievement.

Thank you for showing a positive image of Lebanon to the world Gloria!

You can read more about it [Here].