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Dec 24, 2009

Natl Basketball Team closer to judgment for COCABA case

Story PictureThere is an update to the ongoing challenges of the Belize National Basketball Team who won silver at the August COCABA Games held in Cancun, Mexico. You will recall that the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), disqualified Herbert Allen, Dakin Braddik, Charlie Burgess and Kyron Stokes. FIBA claimed they weren’t Belizeans or that they didn’t receive their citizenship by the age of sixteen. In a first round of international battle, the FIBA Appeals Tribunal ruled against Belize. But the Belize Basketball Federation (B.B.F.) has recently appealed to a higher body, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland. Attorney for the B.B.F., Godfrey Smith, says that they have submitted a name to represent Belize on the three panel tribunal and he has received confirmation that the FIBA arguments against the team would soon be revealed.

Godfrey Smith, attorney for B.B.F.
“Just today we received a letter from the court of arbitration for sport that we would be shortly receiving the reply, the arguments from FIBA in relation to the arguments we filed earlier this year. I believe it was last month. So we’re basically locked in once we receive that then it will be a matter of finding out when the hearing will be and taking it from there. I should point out as well that the court of arbitration has asked us to say to them by January tenth whether we want an oral hearing or whether we are asking the three man panel, to just make a decision based on the argument submitted. That’s not a matter for me, that’s a matter for the Belize Basketball Federation to decide.”

Jose Sanchez
“Do you think our chances are better now at this level?”

Godfrey Smith
“I think it should be better at this level and I say that for the reason that there are now three people considering the matter, one of whom we have appointed, Michael Belof QC from London. It doesn’t mean that we have any contact with him or any favors will be given, but given the list, we were asked to look through the list and select somebody. We obviously went for somebody from our common law system, eminent person. We believe that coming from the same system of law our argument would be better appreciated.”

The COCABA games were the first in a series that would have led the team to the 2012 Olympics.

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