Basketball Australia has cited player safety concerns in its decision to withdraw its men’s national team from the World Cup qualifiers to be held in Iran.
After a loss to Kazakhstan confirmed their place in next year’s tournament, the Boomers were scheduled to travel to Tehran to face Iran on Tuesday (AEDT). Instead, the teams will return to Australia to await direction from FIBA as to whether the match will be rescheduled elsewhere.
“Basketball Australia has conducted a thorough risk assessment in cooperation with the relevant authorities and will not be sending a team to Iran at this time,” the statement read.
A series of protests erupted in Iran after the death of 22-year-old Masa Amini, who was allegedly violently arrested by the country’s leadership patrol in September for not wearing the hijab properly. died in custody three days after falling into
Iran is currently one of 19 countries that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised Australians not to travel to.
“Protests continue across the country, with an increasing number of foreigners arrested,” the DFAT advisory said. “Medical evacuation may be difficult. If you are in Iran, it is advisable to leave there. Airlines may cancel or scale back flights to and from Iran at last minute notice.”
A representative told AAP that Basketball Australia notified FIBA of the safety concern before the current qualifying round. He said he never traveled to Iran regardless.
We have reached out to FIBA for comment.
The decision to withdraw will not affect Australia’s qualification for the World Cup, which will be held in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines from next August.
Australia have won all nine games on their way to the World Cup and are now scheduled to face Bahrain and Kazakhstan in the sixth qualifier in February.
Earlier on Saturday, Australia clinched a ticket to the 2023 FIBA World Cup in style with a landslide 97-50 win over Kazakhstan at Astana’s Republican velodrome.
Led by FIBA Asia Cup gold medal-winning head coach Mike Kelley, Australia lead from start to finish to advance to their 13th FIBA World Cup.
Australia took a 31-point lead at quarter-time, holding the hosts to 15% shooting from the field and 8 points in 10 minutes. Boomers scored his 39 points in the first term, so he was not a single player to hit double digits.
Kazakhstan rallied in quartertime to record a game-high score of eight straight points, but the Boomers regained momentum and boasted a 33-point margin in the main break.
By the third quarter, every member of the Australian roster had scored in the competition, increasing the margin to 41 points. The Boomers then scored another 19 points to win by 47, with Sam Flooring leading all scorers with an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double.