FIBA has allegedly pulled the plug on the staging of the Doha bubble for the third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
The Saudi Basketball Federation, one of the nations set to compete in Qatar, stated that the international governing body for basketball had postponed the games due to the growing cases of COVID-19 in the Middle Eastern country.
FIBA has yet to release an official statement on the status of the said games.
If true, the cancellation will affect the games for three groups in the qualifiers.
Set to participate in the Doha bubble are Group A, composed of Gilas, Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia; Group B, which features China, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and Malaysia; and Group E, which has Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and hosts Qatar.
Chinese Taipei and Malaysia have already announced their withdrawal from participating, citing health concerns.
FIBA has also canceled the game between Guam and Hong Kong due to the travel restrictions in place. The two teams were supposed to face off in the Manama bubble in Bahrain.
How does FIBA deal with this, and how does it affect their sanctions against Canada, Chinese Taipei, and South Korea?
It goes to show you how unpredictable this COVID pandemic is and that FIBA was completely out of line when they sanctioned the three countries for taking their proper precautions by not participating in the previous (second) window.
Malaysia will not be sending a team to the final window of FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers.
Following the Chinese Taipei announcement, the Malaysia Basketball Association has also released a statement stating their decision based on a consultation with National Sports Council Malaysia.
Malaysia suffered a devastating 48-152 defeat at the hands of Chinese Taipei. Still, both teams effectively give up any chance of qualifying for the FIBA Asia Cup if their remaining games are forfeited.
Japan and China remain as the only two teams left in Group B. Both are likely to qualify regardless of the results of the upcoming games.
The Chinese Taipei Basketball Association confirms their withdrawal from the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers.
Citing a failure to meet the minimum of 10 required players and only being able to recruit seven who are willing to travel, the CTBA conceded to not participating in the upcoming qualifiers in Qatar.
The East Asian team also skipped the previous window and will be penalized with a fine of 160,000 Swiss Francs (roughly USD 179,500) and a deduction of two points from FIBA.
With the withdrawal, Chinese Taipei effectively gives up any chance of qualifying for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 in August if their remaining games are forfeited.