FIBA-Africa Promises Solution in Basketball Leadership Crisis

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The continental governing body of basketball, FIBA-Africa has vowed to offer requisite provisions that would lead to finding a “Relevant Solution” in the leadership crisis of the Liberia Basketball Association (LBA).

The Secretary General of FIBA-Africa, Alphonse Bile, in his response dated April 8, to Deputy Sports Minister Henry B. Yonton, Jr., said the letter requesting FIBA-Africa’s intervention was “well received.”

“FIBA Africa notes and would like to commend you (for their) implication to solve this conflict,” the letter said. “Be sure that some provisions shall be made to find a relevant solution to this situation.”

Mr. Bile, in his communication, further said FIBA-Africa would also solicit a “common effort” from the Ministry of Youth and Sports to find a way-out in basketball conflict, which erupted since January-2015.

FIBA-Africa is a zone within the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), which contains all 53 national African FIBA federations. It was founded in 1961. FIBA Africa maintains offices in Cairo and in Abidjan.

FIBA Africa’s letter was a reply owing to a two-page letter of complaint from the Deputy Sports Minister on behalf of the Liberian government.

In his communication dated 3 April, the Deputy Sports Minister informed FIBA-Africa regarding the ongoing stalemate in the LBA, which he said began over the last three months owing to the unremitting contestation for “legitimacy and expiration of tenure” by some aggrieved members, structured under the named: “Liberia Basketball Presidents Association.”

Deputy Sports Minister Yonton said the aggrieved stakeholders raised five issues, which include: the violation of the constitution of the LBA by Mr. Rufus Anderson, President of the LBA for not holding election the fourth year of his term and make his administration illegitimate and that club(s) that didn’t participate in the immediate past organized basketball season should not be eligible for the forthcoming congress.

Others include that the leadership published listing of teams eligible for congress and excludes teams that didn’t participate in the league.

On the aggrieved members’ argument, the LBA leadership recounted the Ebola outbreak in the country, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the elections to elect the corps of officers for the LBA could not be held in 2014; that some of the contestants seeking positions are not eligible to participate as pursuant to constitutional requirements and the leadership has not abrogated the constitution.

“To further calm the stalemate, the Liberia National Olympic Committee was written by the aggrieved party to intervene in the dispute. Despite efforts by the arbitration committee of the LNOC to ensure that peace and harmony is restored, this effort was unsuccessful,” the Ministry said.

However, prior to the intervention letter of FIBA-Africa, the Youth and Sports Ministry suspended the activities of basketball.

In the April 1’s communication to the LBA Yonton mandated the LBA to halt its elections, scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, and urged the leadership to allow the intervention of FIBA to resolve the current leadership crisis.

Yonton wrote: “Owing to the continuous contest between the leaders of the LBA and the aggrieved party, regarding its legitimacy, the Ministry has reached a decision to seek the intervention of the Africa basketball governing body – FIBA-Africa with offices in Abidjan and Cairo.”

Yonton’s communication further told outgoing LBA president Rufus Anderson, to “adjourn all processes pertaining to the holding of election and advise further that you stay clear-off all basketball activities until further consultation with FIBA-Africa is concluded.”

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