(ATR) NBA players arriving at the last minute to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics should not face any delays in joining their teams due to Covid-19 protocols.
In answer to a question from Around the Rings, International Basketball Federation (FIBA) secretary general Andreas Zagklis said during a virtual roundtable on Wednesday that the NBA’s already strict protocols would be "compatible" to the countermeasures that will be in place in Tokyo.
"The professional players… come from an environment of if not full but relative isolation with almost daily testing so the national teams are not receiving the players from a totally unprotected environment," Zagklis says.
He says the international window for qualifying for the FIBA Continental Cups last month included players arriving late due to club commitments in the EuroLeague.
"Our medical commission prepared a special protocol saying that if certain conditions would be met then we would accept" the players.
The NBA and the NBA players association agreed last month to shorten the 2020-21 regular season, which begins Dec. 22, by 10 games to 72 and wrap up the post-season no later than July 22 in order to avoid a scheduling clash with Tokyo 2020.
The Olympics begin on July 23 with the first preliminary basketball games tipping off on July 25.
"I think we will have the best players available at the Olympic Games and FIBA are satisfied with that," Zagklis says.
While the best players should be there for the Games, a few may be absent to help their countries qualify for Tokyo 2020.
The IOC agreed to push back the Olympic qualifying tournament by a week to June 29-July 4, by which time Zagklis says only four of the NBA’s 30 teams would still be playing in the postseason, leaving 85 percent of the league's players available. But the possibility still exists that smaller countries could be trying to qualify without their star performers.
For example, Greece would likely need two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo to successfully qualify but his team the Milwaukee Bucks are a good bet to reach the latter stages of the NBA playoffs and he could be unavailable.
India Formalizes AFC Asian Cup Bid
India is officially all in for a bid to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) made the formal launch announcement in New Delhi on Dec. 16.
"It has taken a lot of hard work to reach the level we are at today, where we can think of hosting international events year on year," said AIFF president and FIFA Council member Praful Patel.
The country is currently preparing to host two events in 2022 – the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
AIFF used the event to help showcase the potential of hosting Asia’s flagship football event in the world’s fastest emerging football market, home to 1.3 billion people.
India hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 - the most attended FIFA youth tournament in history with a record 1.34 million spectators.
Patel and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Kiren Rijiju posed with India’s bid book for hosting the 2027 Asian Games.
The bid books are due to be handed over to the Asian Football Confederation by Dec. 18.
Earlier this week, the AFC announced that it had received the bid books from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The other two countries still in the running to host the event are Iran and Uzbekistan.
Sport Shooting Fed Recognizes Faroe Islands
The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) becomes the 12th IF to recognize the Faroe Islands.
The Faroese Confederation of Sports and Olympic Committee (FCSOC) is now an Associate Member of the ISSF, meaning Faroese athletes can compete in international shooting events up to and including World Championship level.
"The prospect of our athletes now being able to compete in international events will not just inspire them, it will also provide crucial high-level competition experience," Esmar Joensen, President of Faroese Shooting Federation said in a statement.
Jon Hestoy, Vice President of the FCSOC, added that the ISSF membership "is another important milestone in our ambition to grow our international sporting recognition.
"In sports as diverse as rowing, handball, swimming and football, the Faroe Islands has shown that it can make its mark in international sport. We are actively pursuing membership of several other IFs and our ambition to one day compete in the Olympic Games very much remains our dream."
The Faroe Islands is a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and has competed in every Paralympic Summer Games since 1984. It is recognized by 12 International Federations: archery, badminton, darts, football, handball, International Paralympic Committee, judo, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and volleyball.
The Faroe Islands is also recognized by the European Olympic Committees [EOC] and can compete as the Faroe Islands in the European Games in sports where it has IF recognition.
However, Faroese athletes must compete under the flag of Denmark in the Olympics.
The Faroe Islands, with a population of 52,000, has been a self-governing region ofDenmark since 1948. It has been campaigning for Olympic recognition for more than 40 years.
Written and reported by Gerard Farek
For general comments or questions,click here.
Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.