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FIBA decisions and measures to protect young players in Mali

MIES (Switzerland) - After receiving several allegations in June 2021 of systemic sexual harassment within the Mali Basketball Federation (FMBB), FIBA has worked closely in Mali with various local and international partners and stakeholders towards establishing a sporting environment that protects the integrity and safety of young basketball players.

Following the allegations discovered and independently verified in the summer of 2021, FIBA opened disciplinary proceedings against ten people, including several coaches and FMBB officials. After issuing provisional suspensions until the conclusion of these procedures, FIBA has imposed the following sanctions:

  • Amadou Bamba (former Mali National Team Coach): lifetime suspension from carrying out a function or participating in any FIBA or FIBA-related activities, in addition to a CHF 80,000 fine.

  • Harouna Maiga (former FMBB President): eight-year suspension from carrying out a function or participating in any FIBA or FIBA-related activities, in addition to a CHF 20,000 fine.

  • Seydou Maiga (former FMBB Secretary General): six-year suspension from carrying out a function or participating in any FIBA or FIBA-related activities, in addition to a CHF 10,000 fine.

  • Amadou Traore (former FMBB 1st Vice-President): four-year suspension from carrying out a function or participating in any FIBA or FIBA-related activities, in addition to a CHF 5,000 fine.

  • Fatoumata Diallo (former Mali National Team Assistant Coach): two-year suspension from carrying out a function or participating in any FIBA or FIBA-related activities.

As part of the sanctions, the parties are required to complete FIBA-approved safeguarding training prior to the expiration of the sanction and as a pre-condition for their return to FIBA or FIBA-related activities.

Beyond the legal procedures, FIBA also focused on developing safeguarding policies, resources, and education, and improving protection of persons in vulnerable situations within the Mali basketball landscape. FIBA partnered with the "Fondation Terre des Hommes" (Tdh), an independent organization with extensive experience in keeping children safe in sport, and a local partner. Thanks to this partnership, FIBA launched a basketball safeguard and protection service for young players and other persons in vulnerable situations in Mali.

Awareness-raising and education resources, produced through this partnership, were used to deliver workshops with youth from national teams, all first division clubs, reaching more than 1,800 young participants. The function of a local safeguarding focal point was established across the club structures, improving the capacity to recognize the rights and interests of players and other young people involved in sport, build and maintain safe cultures, use an approach to prevent abuse or harm, and start engaging others across the system to be aware of and comply with relevant requirements. An independent and secure reporting system was also implemented to welcome, listen, guide, and monitor players experiencing difficulties or that are victims of abuse. Legal and psychosocial support has been provided to survivors of abuse upon request, while group therapies were organized with all young players for further support. In parallel, a safeguarding expert was recruited to conduct an independent analysis of the FMBB's current situation and to develop and implement a strategy to improve safeguarding activities in the future.

In addition, safeguarding experts accompanied the Mali youth national team delegations to their international competitions in 2021 and 2022, continuing their education and awareness-raising, as well as ensuring a safe environment for all. This initiative extended to all of Mali's first division clubs, with whom Tdh conducted workshops and trained local safeguarding focal points.

Following the FMBB's electoral process in December 2022, a specific Safeguarding Policy has been finalized with the continued collaboration between FMBB, Tdh and FIBA. The policy was approved during an Extraordinary National Council of the Federation held on May 10, 2023, in Bamako.

A Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for safeguarding matters has been appointed by FMBB, to work closely with local stakeholders such as the leagues and clubs.

FIBA continues to monitor the situation in Mali within the framework provided by its General Statutes and Internal Regulations, and further to the FIBA Integrity Officer report.

At a global level, FIBA's Central Board approved the creation of the FIBA Safeguarding Council and appointed HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, IOC member and President of the Jordan Olympic Committee, as the Founding Chairman. The FIBA Safeguarding Council acts as an advisory body to FIBA on matters related to safeguarding and protection of vulnerable groups of basketball participants. As one of its first tasks, the Council proposed a new FIBA Safeguarding Policy, that was approved by FIBA's Central Board in December 2022. This decision anchored the principle that anyone who wants to take part in and enjoy the game of basketball is able to do so in a fair and equitable safe space, free from all forms of harm and abuse, regardless of the playing level. This policy provides a strong foundation and the tools to reinforce the protection of persons in vulnerable situations in the basketball environment.

In case a new or additional breach of safeguarding or integrity occurs is known by a third party, this breach should immediately be reported at, and FIBA will proceed with the required steps.

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