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FIBA (International Basketball Federation)

Fiba decision on Philippines v Australia brawl: 13 basketball players suspended after fight at World Cup 2019 qualifier

Two coaches given bans with nearly US$360,000 issued in fines after Manila melee, with other sanctions imposed on national federations after ugly scenes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 3:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 11:24pm

Basketball governing body Fiba has announced its sanctions following the violent brawl that erupted between players, officials and fans of the Philippines and Australia in their World Cup qualifier earlier this month.

Punches, kicks and even a chair were thrown as a mass melee unfolded mid-match at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan near Manila on July 2.

A Fiba disciplinary panel said on Thursday that 13 players and two coaches will be suspended for varying numbers of World Cup qualifiers for displaying unsportsmanlike behaviour and for inciting it, while a total of 360,000 Swiss Francs (US$359,746) was issued, mostly against the hosts.

Other sanctions will also be imposed on the national federations of the Philippines and Australia, while the officiating crew from the game has also been suspended.

“Fiba wishes to emphasise that it condemns any form of violence, both on and off the court,” a Fiba statement read.

“Respect, sportsmanship and professionalism are expected from players, coaches, officials and all other stakeholders at every game.

“Moreover, host countries must ensure the highest standards of organisational conditions are in place to guarantee the safety and well-being of players and other participants at all times.”

The fight was sparked when Philippines guard Roger Pogoy knocked down Chris Goulding with an elbow, as Australia led 79-48 with four minutes left in the third quarter.

Referees ejected 13 players – 10 from the Philippines, three from Australia – after a lengthy video review, during which members of the Philippines team bizarrely posed for group selfies on the court as officials tried to calm the situation down.

Philippines and Australia basketball brawl erupts with punches, kicks and chairs thrown and 13 players ejected

The game resumed with the Philippines down to three men, but eventually the hosts had to forfeit after having another player ejected.

Fiba referred the matter to its disciplinary panel after the match, with each side blaming the other for provoking the violence.

Of the suspended Philippines players, Calvin Abueva was handed the biggest ban – six games – because of previous unsportsmanlike behaviour in a Fiba competition.

Basketball brawl: Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes urged players to ‘hit somebody’, claim Australia

The other Gilas Pilipinas players to be banned are: Carl Cruz, Jio Jalalon and Pogoy (five games each); Terence Romeo, Jayson Castro William, Andray Blatche and Jeth Rosario (three games each); Japeth Aguilar and Matthew Wright (one game each). No sanction is imposed on Gabe Norwood.

Philippines assistant coach Joseph Uichico was suspended for three games for his involvement in the brawl, while head coach Vincent “Chot” Reyes received a one-game ban as well as a disciplinary fine of 10,000 Swiss Francs for inciting unsportsmanlike behaviour.

The Philippines will also play their next game behind closed doors after Fiba sanctioned the national federation, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), for “the unsportsmanlike behaviour of its delegation members and members of the public, as well as for insufficient organisation of the game”.

The SBP was also fined 250,000 Swiss Francs, and could see another two home games played behind closed doors if there is another serious disciplinary incident in the next three years.

For Australia, Daniel Kickert was given a five-game suspension, while Chris Goulding got a one-game ban.

Thon Maker will miss three games, though Nathan Sobey and Jason Cadee escaped sanction.

Fiba also fined Basketball Australia 100,000 Swiss Francs for “the unsportsmanlike behaviour of its players and for abusing and/or tampering of equipment, after having removed floor stickers from the court on the eve of the game”.

Philippines basketball brawl: Australia inflamed issue by ripping up decals from court, admits chief

The fines will go toward the International Basketball Foundation’s “Basketball For Good” social programme, said the Fiba statement.

The group of referees that officiated the game will not be able to referee at elite international competitions recognised by Fifa for one year.