Brazil’s automatic basketball bid for 2016 Olympics in jeopardy over money

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Two spots in the 2016 Rio Olympics men’s basketball tournament are secure.

One spot in the 2016 Rio Olympics men’s basketball tournament is secure.

The United States is guaranteed entry by virtue of winning the 2014 World Cup.

Brazil was believed to be a lock as the host country, but that’s no longer so certain.

David Ebner Vancouver of The Globe and Mail:

Last month, FIBA, basketball’s international ruling body, set a deadline of July 31 for the Brazilian Basketball Federation to pay “significant outstanding dues” to FIBA “in order to be granted automatic qualification places for Rio 2016.”

FIBA did not explain what the unpaid dues were for, or exactly how much money was owed – estimates suggest it could be $1-million. That, of course, is a fraction of the $12-billion or so that Brazil’s organizing committee is spending to stage the Games.

Earlier this year, according to a FIBA spokesman, CBB proposed to repay the debt on a schedule extending to 2019. FIBA said no, and set the deadline. Its spokesman explained by e-mail: “A solution needs to be found by [July 31, 2015] so that all participating teams know the qualification process for the Olympic Games and the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.”

Most likely, Brazil will just pay these dues. But if this matter remains unresolved, Brazil could potentially still qualify for the Olympics through other means.

Brazil is scheduled to compete in the FIBA Americas Championship next month, though perhaps FIBA would block Brazil’s inclusion based on these unpaid dues. The top two teams in the tournament qualify for the Olympics, and the U.S. – Olympic berth already clinched – isn’t competing. With several NBA players to draw upon – Nene, Tiago Splitter, Anderson Varejao, Leandro Barbosa, Lucas Nogueira and Bruno Caboclo  – Brazil would be a strong contender.

But if Brazil needs to use one of the FIBA Americas’ two qualifying slots, that closes a door for the other nine teams in the tournament:

  • Canada
  • Argentina
  • Puerto Rico
  • Dominican Republic
  • Venezuela
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Cuba
  • Uruguay

Safe to say, these other North and South American teams are rooting for Brazil to settle with FIBA.