TOKYO (Reuters) – The Japanese Basketball Association apologised on Thursday after being suspended by the sport’s ruling body (FIBA) for failing to come up with a plan to merge two domestic leagues, putting Japan’s place in the 2016 Olympic competition in jeopardy.
FIBA had given the JBA until the end of October to come up with a plan to merge the Basketball Japan League and the National Basketball League into a single competition.
Efforts to reach an agreement came to nothing and FIBA said late on Wednesday the JBA had forfeited its rights as a member federation and would be banned from taking part in any of its competitions, which include Olympic qualifiers.
JBA chief Yasuhiko Fukatsu resigned late last month as the impasse showed no signs of easing and acting president Mitsuru Maruo said it was imperative to get the suspension overturned as soon as possible.
“I want to offer my deepest apologies to the players and others involved,” Kyodo news agency quoted Maruo as telling a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday.
“Our biggest mission is to quickly try and get the ban lifted.”
FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann said in a statement on Wednesday the drastic step had been taken “for the good of basketball in Japan”.