Australian basketball player Daniel Kickert was given a five-match ban for unsportsmanlike behaviour by worldwide body FIBA on Thursday for his part in a brawl during an Asian qualifier against the Philippines in Manila for the 2019 World Cup.
FIBA suspended 10 Phillipine players for 35 games in all, while three Australian players have been banned for nine games in total for their part in what was dubbed by some as "the biggest on-court brawl of the decade." .
In a surprise move, FIBA also suspended the match officials for 12 months.
The referees are Ahmed Al Bulushi of Oman, Hatim Alharbi of Saudia Arabia, and Paul Skayem of Lebanon.
"Furthermore, following a thorough evaluation by a group of experts of the officiating during the game, the FIBA Secretary General has decided that the referees of the game shall be removed with immediate effect from the FIBA Elite Program and shall not be nominated to any global competitions organized or recognized by FIBA (including at Zone and Sub-zone level) for a period of one year", the association said. It's not just the calls on the court.
The Australian Basketballers' Association said in a statement that it would not appeal the penalties on behalf of the players, but it was seeking further clarification from FIBA regarding sanctions imposed on some officials and fans involved.
BA has 14 days to decide whether to appeal the sanctions however chief executive Anthony Moore said that was unlikely to happen.
"As we stated at the outset, BasketballAustralia sincerely regrets the incident that occurred in Manila and the involvement of our players in it", Moore said in a statement.
Thirteen players have been suspended as a consequence of participating in the brawl
With the Australian Boomers well in front on 79-48, Chris Goulding was fouled, which led to teammate Daniel Kickert lashing out at Philippine player Roger Pogoy, which then sparked the mass altercation.
Daniel Kickert (5 games), Thon Maker (3 games) and Chris Goulding (1 game) copped suspensions from FIBA matches for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
A Philippines-based photojournalist claimed last week he heard racist remarks from Australian players but would not repeat those claims when contacted by BasketballAustralia.
"FIBA wishes to emphasize that it condemns any form of violence, both on and off the court". No sanction is imposed on Nathan Sobey and Jason Cadee.
Australia have a 5-1 win-loss record heading into the second round of FIBA World Cup qualifying so only need a few more wins to secure their place in 2019 FIBA World Cup in China but the Philippines (4-2) have Kazakhstan, Japan and Qatar all within reach so losing so many players could see them miss the tournament.
Australia and the Philippines are not scheduled to meet again unless they face each other at the FIBA World Cup or the next Asia Cup.
"Philippines' national federation, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Inc (SBP), is sanctioned for the unsportsmanlike behavior of its delegation members and of its public, as well as for insufficient organization of the game".
"Respect, sportsmanship and professionalism are expected from players, coaches, officials".
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