Basketball in India is currently in a difficult place, with two factions trying to get control of the Basketball Federation of India. At this time, the organization has been told to freeze all of its official activity until the issue is resolved. Unfortunately for players, no international play is currently allowed.
The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) has split into two. The faction in Bengaluru, headed by K Govindaraj was recognized by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), while the Pune faction, headed by Poonam Mahajan, has been recognized by the Indian Olympic Association. Mahajan also heads up the Maharashtra State Basketball Association.
Indian basketball was immediately thrown into turmoil, and to add to the confusion, the three Basketball Federation of India’s foreign coaches all terminated their contracts. In addition to the sanctions against playing, the sport’s commercial partner, IMG-Reliance, was ordered to withhold funding until the situation is resolved.
The Delhi High Court ruled that the Bengaluru election was considered valid, giving control of the website and the BFI’s official offices to Govindaraj’s faction. While the court made this ruling, it did not rule against the rival faction.
Bengaluru was declared as the host for the upcoming South Asian Basketball Championship that is set to take place from 3rd – 5th July. However, the Sports Ministry had not yet given the go-ahead for official basketball events.
Govindaraj commented: “We’re confident of hosting it. There will be no issues. I met the Union Sports Minister [Sarbananda Sonowal]. We have also sent him a letter. He said he would issue another letter to us [that would allow us to host the event.]”
With the upswing of popularity of basketball in India in recent years, it would be a big knock on the sport should the Basketball Federation of India be unable to hold the upcoming South Asian Basketball Championship.