The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) on Tuesday published recommendations on returning to basketball in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recommendations, which were published in the English, French and Spanish languages, are titled: “Return to Basketball – Restart Guidelines for National Federations.”
A basketball-specific “Risk Assessment Tool” has also been produced in collaboration with the World Health Organisation.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that FIBA is the world governing body for basketball and is an independent association formed by 213 national basketball federations throughout the world.
The body, which is based in Mies in Switzerland, is recognised as the sole competent authority in basketball by the International Olympic Committee.
FIBA’s guidelines are primarily for national federations seeking direction and advice on the restart of basketball activities and competitions.
NAN reports that the vast majority of basketball activities and competitions around the world had been halted in mid-March due to the pandemic.
“The guidelines and risk assessment tool will serve as a checklist to ensure any decisions on basketball events are based on an assessment of risks and the best chance of a successful restart,” FIBA said.
It however reminded the federations that the publication is not intended to replace the guidance and restrictions of governments and public health authorities.
“The risk assessment tool is a live document and will be updated regularly,” the federation added.
The guidelines have been developed by FIBA Medical Commission Chairman, Peter Harcourt.
This was after his consultation with the FIBA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group and also both the FIBA Medical and Players Commissions.
Harcourt, who is from Australia, holds numerous positions within other sports organisations as well as with World Anti-Doping Agency and the Commonwealth Games Federation Medical Commission.
He said: “In these challenging times, on behalf of FIBA’s Medical Commission, I share our heartfelt support and solidarity with the basketball community across the world.
“I have witnessed that FIBA has been working tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of national federations, players, officials and other partners.
“I can assure that our Medical Commission will keep working and collaborating closely with WHO and will endeavour to assist FIBA to safeguard the basketball community from the current pandemic crisis based on the scientific knowledge.”
Commenting on the guidelines, Andreas Zagklis, FIBA Secretary General, said they were going to be very beneficial.
Zagklis said: “I wish to sincerely thank the FIBA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, the FIBA Commissions involved and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for their invaluable work, expertise and continued contribution towards protecting our national federations, players, officials and basketball event organisers.
“This set of guidelines will be very beneficial for the basketball community in their return to our game.
“We all miss our sport being played and as the situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, FIBA remains committed to providing guidance for a safe environment for the ‘Return to Basketball.’”
NAN reports that the FIBA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group was set up in April, with the purpose to review the latest scientific knowledge regarding COVID-19.
It was also mandated to advice on the return of international basketball competitions.
Members of this special advisory group include the Chair and Deputy Chair of the FIBA Medical Commission, NBA Director of Sports Medicine, and Senior Advisor to the WHO Executive Director.
It also has a University of Melbourne Professor of Medicine who specialised in immunology and vaccine research, and, as an observer, the IOC Medical Director.