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Feb 25, 2010

Judgment for National Basketball Team’s case one month away

Godfrey Smith

Godfrey Smith

It’s the countdown to the final decision regarding the status of Belize’s National Basketball Team. The team won silver at the COCABA championships held in Cancun, Mexico in 2009.  But during the August games, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), disqualified Herbert Allen, Dakin Braddik, Charlie Burgess and Kyron Stokes. FIBA claimed the players didn’t receive their Belizean citizenships by the age of sixteen so they weren’t Belizeans. The FIBA Appeals tribunal ruled against Belize, but the Belize Basketball Federation’s attorney, Godfrey Smith, appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports, which is the highest authority in sports.  According to Smith, the final decision for the national team will come in March.

Godfrey Smith, Attorney for B.B.F.

“We’re locked in; arguments are in. They have decided it will be an oral hearing. FIBA had preferred that there not be an oral hearing, that the judges just decide based on the written submissions. We preferred an oral hearing and the court of arbitration for sports said yes, they agree that it should be an oral hearing.  So that hearing will take place on the twenty-fifth of March, 2010 in Switzerland.”

Jose Sanchez

“Who will be representing FIBA out there?”

Godfrey Smith

“I believe it is the same set of lawyers who we met at the first stage in Geneva, a German firm. The judges you have to select your one; we have selected a British lawyer/judge, they have selected one, and the Court of Arbitration appoints the third one.”

Godfrey Smith says that the date for the ruling is set for March twenty fifth.  If the Court of Arbitration for Sports rules against Belize, not only does the team forfeits is winnings in COCABA, it also puts an end to any Olympic dreams, as COCABA is a qualifier for the Olympic summer games which will be held in the United Kingdom in 2012.

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