BFI lifts the ban on all players

"All teams can field UBA players in their teams," informed V. Ragothaman, who was the Chairman of the three-member Committee instituted by BFI to look into the UBA pro league issue.

Railways had already come to the Union Territory with the UBA players and put up a strong case for playing with them.   -  S.S. Kumar

Relenting from its earlier stand in not allowing any players who had played in the UBA Pro men’s league to take part in the Senior National championships, Basketball Federation of India announced on Sunday it has lifted the ban on all the players of all States and Institutions.

The ban, however, applies to coaches and officials, who took part in the “unauthorised” league. “All teams can field UBA players in their teams,” informed V. Ragothaman, who was the Chairman of the three-member Committee instituted by BFI to look into the UBA pro league issue.

Whether the Services men’s team would have agreed to participate in the Nationals here is debatable for only the other day, an SSCB spokesman said only if the ban on players and the coach (Jora Singh) is lifted, will the team come.

The question that should be asked is, was the decision by BFI taken primarily to get Railways on board and set the process of getting recognition from the Sports Ministry?

In fact, Railways had already come to the Union Territory with the UBA players and put up a strong case for playing with them. For teams, that have come with players, who had played in the UBA league, it could be beneficial.

But for units like Tamil Nadu, Telengana and others who respecting BFI’s decision, hadn’t even allowed those who played in the UBA League in their State championships, it could well be a slap on their faces. “I didn’t allow my players, who played in the UBA league to play here. Now one of them might file a case in the Court,” said an office-bearer of a State Association.

While BFI could say that we have taken the decision keeping “the players’ welfare in mind”, there would be many who will doubt the genuineness of the statement. In the first place, BFI shouldn’t have dragged the UBA issue till the Nationals. It’s flip-flop hasn’t helped.

Hopefully, BFI and the UBA representative, who is expected to arrive here a day before the finals, sit across the table and sort out the issues once and for all to avoid any further mess.

As most of the teams reached the venue late on Saturday, the Technical Committee has rescheduled the fixtures and has done away with the loser’s knock-out in a bid to finish matches on time.