The Barbados Amateur Basketball Association (BABA) is at a point of waiting to see what happens next as it relates to the relaxation of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols, says president Francis Williams as he anticipates a decrease in personnel at all levels of local basketball.
During a virtual press conference held this morning via Zoom, Williams said once basketball resumes the BABA will have to reset as they plan the way forward. He also believes that the opportunity was missed to involve sporting associations and federations in the COVID-19 fight as it relates to reaching targets and demographics.
“I think we are at a point of waiting to see what happens next. In my mind what happens next will be nothing like what we had before. I anticipate that we will lose players at all levels, I anticipate that we will lose referees, desk officials at all levels, I anticipate clubs and teams will lose sponsorship at all levels,” Williams told the media.
He added: “I can’t see how given clearance today, how next year will look anything similar to what we had previously.
I am pretty much making up my mind that at what point we restart we would be pretty much doing a complete reset.
“I am not only speaking about basketball but sports in general. For whatever reason, I do understand some of the challenges we all have as a government and as a people in managing the situation but I am not sure that we have handled the sporting aspect of life as best as we can. I am not going to blame anyone because this is all new for us and I understand the challenges of having too much to deal with.
“Looking back, I think we may have missed an opportunity in including sports associations in the COVID fight when it comes to reaching targets, reaching demographics, and messaging. I think there was a role for associations to play and I don’t think we were used at all in helping in the fight.”
The BABA has not had any sanctioned on-court activity since March 2020 with the only competitive event being the E-Sport
Open which took place earlier this year and Barbados emerged victorious in their zones.
Unfortunately, the impact of COVID- 19 has forced the local governing body to withdraw from the FIBA 3X3 Americup which was scheduled for November 12th to 14th due to the rise in local cases. This would have been the first time that there was regional competition for senior players at the national level for the 3×3 and Williams noted that any funds that they had paid in will be credited to future tournaments.
“Until a few weeks ago we were one of the associations who had not heard from the COVID Unit. However, I can now state we have gotten some feedback from them and we were granted conditional permission to resume activities. Just to be clear, this application was not a request for a full return. What we decided to do was limit that request to a couple of areas, those being the national team training, instructional camps, primarily for the juniors and 3×3 tournaments.
“However, any joy that we had from the COVID Unit was short-lived because two or three weeks later we had a spike in cases that you all are aware of and there was a subsequent ban on all contact sports. With that change of events, the executive was then forced to make a decision to withdraw our national teams from the upcoming FIBA 3X3 Americup.
“To be a bit more specific in how the directive affected our participation in this event, in order to take part in the Miami event we were required to hold local tournaments where the players can earn their ranking points and this is where we would have selected the national team,” Williams explained.
“Additionally, the deadline for submitting national teams is October 11th, so you can see the situation we were put in terms of the time frame and as it relates to what is going on here locally with the COVID spread and the restrictions that were imposed.
“These events were just another disappointing hand that the COVID has dealt us and if we haven’t passed the point yet we are very near the point where as a nation we have to take a critical look at the impact that this pandemic has been having not only on basketball but sports in general.
“The good thing about it is that this tournament will be held three years consecutively and FIBA, understanding our position, said they would keep our position open with the hope that we can be in a position to provide teams next year and the following year once the situation with COVID clears up,” he stressed.
Williams revealed that there were quite a few online training opportunities provided by FIBA, the parent body and those opportunities were presented for coaches, referees and desk officials. He says the BABA is taking this opportunity where no basketball is being played to tighten its administration end.
“The federation was enrolled by FIBA in what they called the FIBA Plus program which is about halfway now. It is going very well, it is very intense but once completed I expect that the association will be much stronger and much clearer on what strategic objection would be achieved once we complete that program with FIBA,” Williams said.