Lithuanian Basketball Federation had no option but to stay with FIBA, says Sabonis
The Lithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF) sees no alternative to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), LKF president Arvydas Sabonis said after the federation decided to suspend clubs playing in the Eurocup tournament organized by Euroleague from participation in official basketball matches.
Currently, Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius is the only Lithuanian club that has confirmed participation in the Eurocup, so it may be ousted from the Lithuanian Basketball League as of next season.
Lithuanian basketball authorities expressed fears of FIBA sanctions that would lead to the removal of the Lithuanian national basketball team from the Rio Olympics this summer.
"There are no alternatives. There were no other offers from other federations, FIBA awaited our answer. We have the Olympic tournament ahead of us. We had no time to waste," Sabonis told a news conference on Thursday.
In his words, Lithuania has to wait for Saturday's meeting of FIBA's Executive Committee and see what the decision there will be.
LKF secretary general Mindaugas Špokas said FIBA sanctions would trigger a collapse of the entire Lithuanian basketball pyramid.
"In the case of FIBA sanctions, we would lose an opportunity to take part in European and world basketball championships for different age groups. Then there are player and referee licenses. It is up to Lithuanian clubs to decide which tournament they want to play in," Špokas said.