FIBA’s bubble success shows pathway for safe international competitions
As many sports enter a season of continental championships the International Basketball Federation is sharing the lessons of a successful series of events featuring 943 players from 74 teams, across 14 cities in five continents. A concerted effort by FIBA’s Headquarters as well as Regional Offices in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Europe was required to ensure safe operations on such a large scale during difficult times.
FIBA has consistently held successful bubble-based events since the start of the pandemic by implementing a strong Covid-19 protocol developed by the FIBA Medical Commission after consultation with the World Health Organization. In addition to continental qualifiers, these events include the FIBA 3×3 World Tour and the Basketball Champions League, with FIBA sharing its knowledge with stakeholders in basketball and across the sports movement.
As was the case in the November window for FIBA events, all athletes and team members had to present two negative Covid-19 tests before traveling to the bubbles – with one test done no later than 48 hours before the departure and another one five days previously. Participants were tested again upon arrival. More than 5,000 PCR tests were submitted before travelling and more than 4,000 PCR tests were organised on-site.
While eight games were postponed in application of the Covid-19 protocol, the overall planning, stringent testing and execution allowed for most to be played. The requirements set forth with the FIBA Covid-19 Protocol and their stringent execution in cooperation with the Bubble Host allowed for the great majority of games to be played as scheduled.
“Basketball was among the sports to show the way towards safe international competition during the pandemic, highlighting our ongoing prioritisation of athlete health and wellbeing,” said FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis. “We’re very proud of having delivered on our promise to provide exceptional competition opportunities to basketball players throughout the continents. And as a proud member of the GAISF family, we remain happy to share the lessons we have learned along the way with fellow International Federations.”