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FIBA suspends Japan over failure to merge basketball leagues

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The JBA will react in two ways: a) panic and ask to be an exception and for cooperation, b) when not being made an exception they'll get defensive, call FIBA "anti-Japan", and say "we don't need outside competitors!" they made their bed.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

finally a body who isnt afraid to get tough on Japan, if you want to join an international organisation you have to follow there rules, not some watered down version to suit Japanese interests. all to common in many areas of Japan

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Why?

I know nothing about the sport, but why should the world governing body care about how a particular country's league is organised?

So Japan has two leagues, just like in baseball... Who loses??

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Although I hate to say it Smith is probably right on this one. This is what Japanese sports organizations usually do. The JBA is an old boys network trying to protect their money. They have done nothing to move basketball forward in Japan and have fought tooth and nail to keep a true professional league out of any national basketball decisions. Quite sad actually. I would love to see FIBA recognize another organization in spite of the JBA.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

That is the crux of it... too often those running a sports organization are trying to protect their position, not trying to advance the sport. Anything that reduces their power or position will be voted down by a top down organization... with the actual players having little say. The Daimyo mentality in various sports is quite strong.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What a shame! Japan was in line to challenge TeamUSA at the Olympics too!

Jokes aside I feel for the Japanese girls team, who apparently stood a fighting chance of sneaking into the olympics. They should be furious at the old men buffoons "running the sport" here who cost them their chance.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I still cannot stop laughing the the name BJ League.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The JBA will react in two ways: a) panic and ask to be an exception and for cooperation, b) when not being made an exception they'll get defensive, call FIBA "anti-Japan", and say "we don't need outside competitors!" they made their bed.

Since I'm not that interested in basketball affairs, this article is not giving me enough information. What is the huge advantage of a single league? if there are few to no major objective advantages, then the charge FIBA is anti-Japan is valid.

It has been decided a long time ago in the States that even if the rule is not clearly discriminatory (such as "No Blacks") and is evenly applied, the fact it "just happens" to disproportionately exclude certain demographics without objective cause, that in itself can be considered discrimination.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki: Seriously, you guys have to drop this whole "anti-Japan/Japan as victim" thing. There is GOOD reason why Japan is being excluded, and first and foremost the main reason is that Japan has failed, despite warning, to adhere to FIBA statutes and merge its 22-team Basketball Japan League (BJ League) and 13-team National Japan League into one league (and actually an additional nine NBDL teams). FIBA had been struggling with and warning Japan for YEARS, and finally decided it was enough, and who can blame them? The reason they have not merged is because the old codgers at the tops of both leagues are arrogant and want more, and the JBA could not decide on any formal merger, with the head of the JBA even resigning recently. FIBA is sending some professionals to once again try and push for reforms, but if the JBA and the two leagues don't change their attitude soon Japan will not be able to participate in the Olympics despite it being in Tokyo (in basketball, I mean).

Now, WHY do they need to merge? and why can't they? They need to merge in order to recognize the legitimacy of the pro sport in Japan. Split into two (even three) leagues, it divides the fans, the marketing, the sponsors, the venues, and all the other aspects of money and viewership. This in turn creates a lack of major TV contracts and undermines any kind of national unity.

The reason they cannot merge is that no one wants to give any grounds. The BJ league is made up of 'company teams', teams owned by Honda or Toyota and made up of players who may not have a lot of talent, but have a namebrand behind them. None of these team owners want the merger if it means joining their teams with others simply because they like owning their own teams. So, they want to keep their teams, and the National teams refuse to simply join the ranks of the company teams, so the only thing they could come up with was a 44-team league for Japan, which is utterly ridiculous. Without compromising they cannot form a legitimate league that would be televised and marketed nation-wide, which would build unity, attracting more talent (including players from abroad), and a solid fan base.

In a nutshell, they need to merge and make ONE, 20-24 team league, but no one in either of the major leagues is willing to compromise, and are resorting to dirty politics at the expense of the sport, the nation as a legitimate competitor, and to the detriment of the players. So, they chose suspension. Now they are panicking to see if they can get players on the ground in Rio, but it's likely far too late.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Doesn't FIBA lose ad revenue from J companies or Japanese audience? I don't know much about basketball, but if you look at skating events even outside of Japan, I see lots of Japanese and J company ad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When I first came to Japan I was given some important advice.... it was an older American that had lived in Japan for over 20 years. He basically said... "No matter how stupid or wasteful your assigned task may be... do not question it and listen to your superior." That was difficult to do... and I still managed to tick off my boss quite a bit. After two or three years I realized that, of course he was right. He was not right in an American sense of business... because in the USA the complexity of business relationships... well... is not that complex. It was very bottom line oriented. But in Japan... there was a lot more going on than met the eye. My point is... Japan's JBA can't get out of its own way... the relationships are very complex and unless they're forced to change... chances are they won't. Gaiatsu is not a Japanese word for no reason.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@smithinjapan

First, I must thank you for providing some additional information. Below are my comments based on this:

There is GOOD reason why Japan is being excluded, and first and foremost the main reason is that Japan has failed, despite warning, to adhere to FIBA statutes and merge its 22-team Basketball Japan League (BJ League) and 13-team National Japan League into one league (and actually an additional nine NBDL teams).

I am aware that Japan has failed to abide by a FIBA statute. What I am interested in is whether FIBA has a strong reason to require the statute. I don't know about you but IMO a statute that does not have sufficient cause has no legitimacy, and using it to exclude a country, any nation, is discriminatory and can be considered "anti-[name of nation]".

They need to merge in order to recognize the legitimacy of the pro sport in Japan. Split into two (even three) leagues, it divides the fans, the marketing, the sponsors, the venues, and all the other aspects of money and viewership. This in turn creates a lack of major TV contracts and undermines any kind of national unity.

Since it seems that even split into 2 and a half leagues, they are getting enough fans, marketing, sponsors, venues and all other aspects of money and viewership to continue if not for this snobberish interference from FIBA, the idea this is a critical factor is somewhat unconvincing.

I can kind of see why FIBA had such a rule. It is possible in some countries, the basketball "market" is small enough that only one league can be adequately funded and in such a case it may be a really good idea to have one league. However, given the difference between all the nations, I have a hard time believing this "one-shoe-fits-all" attitude really is so functional.

In fact, it is possible that a forced merger into one league would cause a net decrease in the resources being thrown into Japanese basketball as a whole. Especially if according to you a lot of the current teams are sponsored by companies, and they tend to be on the lower half of the talent branch. Lose those teams and it is quite possible the money would also be gone.

As for national unity, I must really wonder. Don't most fans support one or two teams? So even if they make one league, most of the time the basketball fans of any nation would be split up supporting different teams. However, when it comes time for the national team to take the Olympics or whatever, they would all rally behind it. The number of leagues just does not seem to be a significant factor here.

National teams refuse to simply join the ranks of the company teams

A perfect understandable thought. Here's an analogy. A country is a confederacy of 2 federations. One federation has 22 provinces, the other has 13 and there are 9 that don't belong to either. It is not a usual system of government but seems to bumble along.

For some reason, this is not acceptable to the UN, who demands they merge into a single federation, with a maximum of only 24 provinces which means some provinces lose their status. Understandably, the merger does not go well. They can just about swallow the merger into one federation but want to keep all 44 provinces separate. The UN mutters something about the benefits of economy of scale and something about national unity or the legitimacy of the government and imposes sanctions.

Who's right and who's wrong?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am aware that Japan has failed to abide by a FIBA statute. What I am interested in is whether FIBA has a strong reason to require the statute. I don't know about you but IMO a statute that does not have sufficient cause has no legitimacy, and using it to exclude a country, any nation, is discriminatory and can be considered "anti-[name of nation]".

You have it backwards. No one forced Japan to join the FIBA, they chose too. JAPAN needs to follow the rules, which apply to all member nations.

A better analogy would be the following: You join a private social club that has a policy which states no sandals, t-shirts, or shorts. However, you insist that as a member you have the right to wear sandals, shorts and t-shirts. Upon entrance you are told to change clothes or you are not allowed in, but you declare the rule is invalid because there is no sufficient reason for such a rule. So, tell me who is right? Japan knew the rules going into it, if Japan or any country does not wish to abide by the rules, perhaps they should stay out of the organization.

It has been decided a long time ago in the States that even if the rule is not clearly discriminatory (such as "No Blacks") and is evenly applied, the fact it "just happens" to disproportionately exclude certain demographics without objective cause, that in itself can be considered discrimination.

Ridiculous. This has nothing to do with the United States or even racism. Its called follow the rules! But, I must say, I do find it downright ironic that you as a Japanese person are so concerned with racism in other countries, yet there is plenty right here in Japan that many Japanese do not even bat an eye over.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Saitama

It seems you won't be fighting me very hard on the point that the statute does not have strong inherent merit, but are just going on "A Rule's a Rule."

The acceptability of arbitrary rules in an organization depends on a number of factors. Perhaps the most important one is whether there are realistic alternatives, including the alternative to simply not join it. From what I can see, considering FIBA has the right to ban a country from joining not only whatever events it organizes directly, but even events like an Olympics hosted by the very country it is banning, it would seem that not joining it is not a realistic option. That's why I chose the UN as an analogy - not joining the UN is hardly a realistic option for a State. And FIBA would be the same for National basketball.

When no realistic alternatives are available, it is particularly important that rules are well justified by objective necessities rather than by dictatorial fiat or even tyranny of the majority.

A better analogy than yours would be to keep most of yours, but it is not a "social club", but a department store. The only one in town, too. Well, of course, you don't have to go to the department store. You can see whether the small shops in the alley has what you need. However, I think you can agree any "dress code" a department store implements must be limited and backed by real necessities, or people may be grossly and unfairly disadvantaged.

Finally, it is true we are not talking the United States or racism, but we are talking about discrimination. Sometimes, it is not good enough that the rule is evenly applied. A rule mandating pork as the only acceptable meat is not acceptable no matter how popular it is or how evenly the rule is applied, simply due to how much it de facto disadvantages the Muslims.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The BJ league is made up of 'company teams', teams owned by Honda or Toyota and made up of players who may not have a lot of talent, but have a namebrand behind them.

Huh? You need to do a little simple research here. Pray tell what "company" owns the Ryukyu Golden Kings? These are pro teams, some have corporate sponsorship's, but they are not company teams as you are implying. This is wrong

http://www.bj-league.com/team_all.php

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It seems you won't be fighting me very hard on the point that the statute does not have strong inherent merit, but are just going on "A Rule's a Rule."

That is a bit of bold assumption. By your own admission you do not know much about FIBA and the reasons for such a rule, so it seems rather pointless to discuss in length something you do not know about, but apparently I should.

1) Multiple leagues confuse fans: Several teams have switched between leagues, causing confusing amongst fans.

2) Multiple leagues means an excessive number of teams: This leads inadequate fan support and an overall watering down of talent.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2014/09/18/basketball/bj-league/ex-apache-coach-hill-supports-fiba-mandate-jba/#.VHlmX8uKC70

3) Multiple leagues artificially inflates salary: With two or more leagues competing for talent, it forces leagues to pay more for talent then what their talent should earn.

All three of these points come together and affect both leagues ability remain profitable. Furthermore, FIBA is worried about the dwindling popularity of basketball in Japan. That is what they do promote the sport of basketball worldwide. http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/390000/sports/basketball/fiba-suspends-japan-from-international-basketball

However, I think you can agree any "dress code" a department store implements must be limited and backed by real necessities, or people may be grossly and unfairly disadvantaged.

As long as the dress code applies to all shoppers, I do not agree at all. A department store is privately owned and can implement any sort of dress code they desire. If a shopper doesn't like it, look elsewhere.

Finally, it is true we are not talking the United States or racism, but we are talking about discrimination. Sometimes, it is not good enough that the rule is evenly applied. A rule mandating pork as the only acceptable meat is not acceptable no matter how popular it is or how evenly the rule is applied, simply due to how much it de facto disadvantages the Muslims.

In no part is this even about discrimination. Japan was not banned, they were suspended. They are more than welcome to stay in FIBA as long as they follow the rules. As FIBA is holding all member countries to the same set of rules, then this is no case of discrimination. If for some reason Japan needs to be granted an exception to the rules, then the onus is on Japan to explain why. After all, no other member seems to have a problem with the rule.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@SaitamaR

None of 1) - 3) is convincing. What if the FIBA had other corrupt reasons we don't know?

After all, no other member seems to have a problem with the rule.

Maybe no other member have two leagues.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Tina Watanabe

None of 1) - 3) is convincing. What if the FIBA had other corrupt reasons we don't know?

Ridiculous. What if, what if, what if? Perhaps you should take your own advice and not throw out accusations without any proof? :)

Maybe no other member have two leagues.

Or maybe they can follow the rules that all other members do? Japan joined FIBA in 1936, but it wasn't until the 2005 creation of the bj league that Japan had a second league. Don't like the rules? Here is the door, douzo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It seems to me that the punishment is too severe and cruel if Japan cannot participate in Tokyo Olympics. It could be an abuse of power. And the rule itself seems interference of domestic affair.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It seems to me that the punishment is too severe and cruel if Japan cannot participate in Tokyo Olympics. It could be an abuse of power. And the rule itself seems interference of domestic affair.

Would you care this much if let's say we were talking about North Korea and not Japan? Why does Japan get a special ride from you?

Domestic affair? You sound rather naive here saying this. I wonder do you use this excuse to justify everything that "outsiders" complain about Japan?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yubaru, it is no a bad thing to have somebody for the defence.

The punishment must be reasonable. FIBA expels Japan from all int'l events and Olympics as if Japan started a military expansion or expanded ADIZ to overlap others or something.

Japan has more than one league within Japan, and it is working on it but having difficulties because of its political nature, but that does not affect other countries. I hope FIBA gives Japan more time.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

>The punishment must be reasonable. FIBA expels Japan from all int'l events and Olympics as if Japan started a military expansion or expanded ADIZ to overlap others or something. Japan has more than one league within Japan, and it is working on it but having difficulties because of its political nature, but that does not affect other countries. I hope FIBA gives Japan more time.

Nonsense. If you put your blinding, rightwing fervor to the side, you would read that the FIBA has for years tried to work with Japan, but nothing has changed.

Furthermore, Japan is not banned from compete, rather they were suspended. As the article states, FIBA wants Japan to play in the Olympics, but the Japanese leagues will not listen. Do not let your rightwing ideology get in the way of the facts

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Saitama

My point is Japan does not deserve the ultimate penalty.

but the Japanese leagues will not listen.

They are listening and working on it hard, but as in any organization when things get political, difficult to move. For that, the ultimate penalty is too harsh.

Japan is not banned from compete, rather they were suspended

It's the same thing if they can't solve the problem.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

My point is Japan does not deserve the ultimate penalty.

What are you talking about? This is not the "ultimate" penalty, it is not an expulsion. They are welcome to participate in league events as soon as they begin to follow league rules as every other member country does.

They are listening and working on it hard, but as in any organization when things get political, difficult to move. For that, the ultimate penalty is too harsh.

How do you know? Are you attending the meetings? They have been told to only have one league for almost 10 years and no one listened. Again, it is not the ultimate penalty, so stop saying so.

It's the same thing if they can't solve the problem.

They maybe they should solve the problem and quit complaining about how unfair it is.

Again, take your right wing goggles off, you can't see things with them on.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think FIBA is a very corrupt organization. Japan should give up on all the int'l events.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Tina Watanabe

I think FIBA is a very corrupt organization.

Do you have proof? Again, take your own advice and stop making accusations without proof.

Japan should give up on all the int'l events.

I agree. Japan should give up on all the international events if they can't follow the rules. However, we don't have to worry about that.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan should give up on all the international events if they can't follow the rules. However, we don't have to worry about that.

I'm worried that Japan will be allowed for the events even though she can't fix the two leagues into one. It must be either 1. Japan cannot fix that leagues and is not allowed for the int'l events. or 2. Japan fixes the leagues and is allowed. I prefer 1.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan cannot fix that leagues and is not allowed for the int'l events. or 2. Japan fixes the leagues and is allowed. I prefer 1.

Yes, these are pretty much the only two possibilities? But why on earth do you not want Japan to participate in the Olympics? What a shame, especially after making the comment below earlier.

My point is Japan does not deserve the ultimate penalty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Googling around, did not find much, except that one of the Japanese leagues uses FIBA rules and the other NBA rules, and that the Phillipines was under suspension for the same reason until they merged their leagues and the suspension was lifted February 2007.

Did find a site with table of FIBA vs NBA vs WNBA vs NCAA Men's vs NCAA Women's basketball rules:

http://www.members.shaw.ca/jazzace/ace/hoop/rulediff.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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