FIBA to debate JBA future next week

Japan is on the verge of being barred from all international basketball events because it hasn’t consolidated its two professional basketball leagues, a situation that has FIBA irate.

FIBA, the international governing body of basketball, had given the Japan Basketball Association a ‘cease or desist’ order to merge the National Basketball with its 13 teams, and the 22-team Turkish Airlines bj-League, before the end of October.  Failure to do so, FIBA warned, would result in Japan being banned from the organization, a move that would prevent it from participating in any sanctioned basketball events, including the Olympics.

The Japan Basketball Association tried to bring the two professional basketball leagues together to agree to a merger prior to the October 31st deadline, but couldn’t work any deal.  Now, the FIBA is meeting Monday and Tuesday to decide how to punish Japan.  FIBA’s general secretary says there will be a suspension if the FIBA demands are not met.  Patrick Baumann says FIBA will suspend the JBA until permanent solutions are in place to promote development of the sport.

The JBA couldn’t get the NBL, which is comprised of mostly corporate-sponsored basketball teams, to agree.  Compounding the JBA’s problems, its president, Yasuhiko Fukatsu, tossed in the towel and resigned only a week before the deadline, when talks between the NBL and bj-League broke down.