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FIBA bans Russia and Belarus from international competition until further notice

Here’s an update on how the Russian invasion of Ukraine is affecting the basketball world.

Spain v Russia - Women’s EuroBasket 2021 Photo by Ivan Terron / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

Last Wednesday, FIBA officially banned Russia and Belarus from participating in any of its international competitions until further notice. This is due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February and the ongoing war since then. Belarus is banned because it has housed Russian military forces for the invasion.

That will affect a number of competitions this year. They include:

  • EuroBasket 2022 this September — Russia was in a good position to qualify as late as last February, but ultimately couldn’t because of the timing of the Ukrainian invasion. Israel, Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija’s national team, is in Group D.
  • The Women’s Basketball World Cup in Australia this October — Russia qualified for the World Cup initially last February. But now that they are banned, Puerto Rico will take their place. Team USA is in Group A. Washington Mystics players Ariel Atkins and Elena Delle Donne are poised to be on this team if they want to. Belarus did not qualify for this tournament, though they have a highly ranked team.
  • The 3X3 World Cup in Belgium this June — The USA will participate in both the men’s and women’s tournaments. The American men’s team is also the defending world champions from the 2019 World Cup that was held in the Netherlands. I’m not as familiar with the 3X3 game, but it isn’t uncommon for countries that are not as well-known in basketball to excel at the 3X3 game.

Since the ruling is for an indefinite period of time, there is a good chance that Russia and Belarus will not qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games.