Basketball Sport

FIBA reforms: To take basketball to another level

HOOPS! with MWEMBE KAONA
THE year 2014 counts as a year of change for the world basketball family following resolutions passed at the March International Basketball Federation extra-ordinary congress in Istanbul, Turkey.
The governance structure of the sport was amended in order to meet changing demands.
A significant feature is that this year will be the last time the FIBA World Championship for men and women will be held in the same year as the Football World Cup.
Therefore recently crowned men’s champions – the United States of America and the soon to be crowned women’s title will hold the title up to 2019.
Basketball is arguably rated as the world’s number one indoor sport and it is FIBA’s view that it should raise its popularity profile to compete against football hence the structural changes that took effect this year.
The Istanbul congress approved four pillars to the FIBA strategic plan which include as mentioned before, governance and the second one being the development of 3×3 basketball, a subject I discussed in April this year.
The third pillar is “The House of Basketball”, the new headquarters of FIBA that was inaugurated last year; a process that ironically took 45 years to complete from the time the decision was made in Mexico to date.
The fourth and final pillar also stems from governance and this is on strengthening national federations such as the Zambia Basketball Association with a view to making stronger and more autonomous.
FIBA would like to have the game well marketed and it seeks to create an enormous buzz through the media exposure of national teams in the next one year and half.
Immediate past president Yvan Mainini underlined that Confidence and Unity are to be the watchwords in working towards achieving the necessary transformation.
In its new calendar system the year 2017 will open a new chapter with continental championships holding over a two year period as qualification for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Currently 24 teams make it to the finals but as of 2019 the number will increase to 32 with Africa getting more slots from the current three to five.
Although the decision is not being well received in Africa due to financial implications the new format does away with the qualification by tournament system and instead teams will play one home and away game per window.
The brains behind this proposal argue that the home and away format will allow fans from 140 countries to watch their national teams play regular games.
Another significant change is that as of 2017 the continental championships will take place every four years instead of two.
With these new changes, FIBA hopes to achieve an improved exposure for basketball as well as create a new interest for basketball as the regular official national team games will be played in front of their own fans.
This is definitely a new challenge in the evolution of the game and come 2019 the results should show. Have a blessed week! mdkaona@gmail.com

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