Possible FIBA Sanctions from Gilas v. Boomers, the Basketbrawl in Bulacan

by: Mickey Ingles (After brawl selfie photo c/o Marc Pingris’ Instagram Page)

The FIBA World Cup Qualifiers game between Gilas Pilipinas and the Australia Boomers last night will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Well, wrong if you consider an all-out brawl something that shouldn’t happen for any reasonin a sporting event. (If you don’t consider it wrong, then you can go ahead and skip this post altogether because it deals with disciplinary measures for wrong behavior.) With FIBA opening up disciplinary proceedings to investigate the Basketbrawl in Bulacan, I’ll outline the legal basis of any sanctions FIBA may impose on the Philippines and/or Australia moving forward.

On the players

FIBA Internal Regulations, Book 1, Paragraph 150 sanctions any unsportsmanlike behavior by players, coaches, assistant coaches, and other folks who have special responsibilities with the national member federations involved, which in this case are the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and Basketball Australia.

The regulations offer a non-exhaustive list of offenses, but relevant to the brawl is that any type of unsportsmanlike behavior or behavior that tarnishes the image of FIBA and/or basketball will be sanctioned by FIBA. This includes physical abuse of other players. It’s pretty and fairly obvious that a superman punch and a flying knee in a basketball game tarnish the image of basketball. So, the players and coaches involved in the kerfuffle (which seems like a soft word to use to describe the carnage last night) will surely be sanctioned.

The Disciplinary Panel may impose the following sanctions on the erring players and officials:

  • Warning,
  • Reprimand,
  • Fine up to CHF100,000,
  • Suspension from basketball-related activities,
  • An outright ban on all FIBA and FIBA-related activities,
  • Basketball community service, and
  • A combo of the above measures.

On SBP, the host

 The crowd also got into it last night. There was even a Filipino supporter who threw a chair at an Australian player. Assuming the chair-thrower was a fan (and not a member of SBP and/or Gilas), SBP will be held responsible.

Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 1.31.30 PM
HE REALLY THREW A CHAIR. (screenshot from ESPN 5’s Youtube video of the fight)

Under FIBA Internal Regulations, Book 1, Paragraph 149, the responsibility for ensuring the proper behavior of the public lies with the hosting national member federation. That’s SBP. So, when the crowd engages in unsportsmanlike behavior towards players and coaches, it’s our very own SBP that will be sanctioned.

Unsportsmanlike behavior by the public include:

  • Inciting violence against players, coaches, and supporters (like throwing a chair!),
  • Throwing of objects which may or may not cause injury (like throwing a chair!),
  • Endangering and/or threatening players and coaches, and
  • Entrance of unauthorized persons into the playing court before, during, or after the game.

If the game is interrupted, then it’ll be considered an aggravating circumstance that’ll increase the penalty on the host.

The sanctions FIBA can slap on the SBP are pretty scary. Some of the sanctions are the following:

  • Full or partial venue closure (which may affect future games in the Philippines),
  • Playing of a game in a different city or country,
  • Prohibition on registering new players (which may affect the Gilas roster, considering the suspensions that’ll come up),
  • Disqualification from a competition in progress and/or exclusion from future competitions (which is huge, especially if SBP is disqualified from the World Cup Qualifications and even the World Cup).

As can be seen with the possible sanctions, the consequences of the brawl are far-reaching. While some folks might defend the brawl as a sign of brotherhood, it’ll be interesting if they’ll feel the same way if this particular display of brotherhood strips the Philippines of our hopes to join the FIBA World Cup in 2019.

But hey, at least you landed a punch, right?

The Disciplinary Panel should come out with their findings and sanctions a few days from now.

Mickey Ingles is the editor-in-chief of Batas Sportiva. He’s shookt.

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