FIBA has surprised many with their response to the ugly brawl during the Australia and Philippines World Cup Qualifier earlier this month. Somewhat confusingly, Basketball’s governing body made it clear they had zero tolerance for players set upon by six or more opponents by suspending Chris Goulding for one match.
Goulding, saved from serious perril by the intervention of Luc Longley, was deemed to have incited unsportsmanlike conduct for having a face Filipinos want to punch. While non Melbourne United supporters might understand the feeling, it is odd that it warranted a harsher penalty than the father of a Filipino player who invaded the arena to throw a chair at Nathan Sobey.
Setting aside for a minute the perplexing decision to punishing Goulding for his seeming resemblance to a Filipino punching bag, there was much to like about the rest of the sanctions handed down. Basketball Australia was fined $135k for their involvement in the fracas, Milwaukee Buck Thon Maker received a three match ban for his attempts to revive kung-fu fighting and Daniel Kickert’s elbow earned him a five match ban from international basketball.
With Basketball Australia keen to accept their sanctions and move on, despite their opposition to Goulding’s penalty, the Philippines quite rightly are reeling from their much harsher punishment. The home side bearing the brunt of FIBA’s wrath not only for their involvement but for their failure to keep their guests safe. “FIBA wishes to emphasise that it condemns any form of violence, both on and off the court,” their statement read. “Respect, sportsmanship and professionalism are expected from players, coaches, officials and all other stakeholders at every game. Moreover, host countries must ensure the highest standards of organisational conditions are in place to guarantee the safety and well-being of players and other participants at all times.”
It means that the Philippines Basketball Association will need to pay fines of $337k and play their next home game behind closed doors. Head Coach Vincent Reyes will also need to reach into his wallet, hit with $14k fines and a one-match ban. He won’t be alone in the stands either, with his assistant coach suspended for three matches and 10 of his players also rubbed out with Roger Pogoy and Calvin Abueva the heaviest hit with five and six match bans respectively.
If any of the players or officials feel hard done by, they might need to spare a thought for the referees. Not only were the three whistleblowers removed from FIBA’s elite panel, they will not be eligible to officiate any international games for 12 months.
There was one bright spot to be found in the washup of the findings from Australia’s involvement in one of the blackest days in international basketball. Despite Filipino accusations, FIBA found that no Boomer player or official was guilty of making any derogatory, discriminatory or racist comments. Its admittedly a small victory but on days like this you take any one you can get.
Australia – fined $134,887.20
Daniel Kickert (five games)
Thon Maker (three games)
Chris Goulding (one game)
The Philippines – Fined $337,000
Must play next home game behind closed doors, has two further closed door games suspended for the next three years.
Calvin Abueva (six games, due to prior offences)
Roger Pogoy (five games)
Carl Cruz (five games)
Jio Jalalon (five games)
Terence Romeo (three games)
Jayson Castro William (three games)
Andray Blatche (three games)
Jeth Rosario (three games)
Japeth Aguilar (one game)
Matthew Wright (one game)
Assistant coach Joseph Uichico (three games)
Head coach Vincent Reyes (one game, fined $13,521.88)
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