The Presidents of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF), Andrew Parsons and Ulf Mehrens, met in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday (28 February) to discuss wheelchair basketball’s non-compliance with the IPC Athlete Classification Code.
The two parties discussed the IPC Governing Board’s decision to remove wheelchair basketball from the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games until the IWBF becomes fully compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code.
During the meeting the IWBF also shared its serious concerns that several of its national federations could face funding issues should wheelchair basketball not be part of Paris 2024. The IWBF also provided the IPC with an update on the progress it is making to reassess the eligibility of all wheelchair basketball players with sport classes 4.0 and 4.5 set to compete at Tokyo 2020.
Andrew Parsons said: “The meeting with the IWBF was productive and the federation left under no illusions about the measures it still needs to take in order to ensure its eligible athletes can compete at the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
“During the meeting, the IWBF acknowledged that is not compliant with the IPC Classification Code, in particular as it currently applies a different and wider test for determining athlete eligibility. This matter has been ongoing for several years and this acceptance by the IWBF is a real step in the right direction and I left the meeting encouraged at the federation’s desire to implement the required changes to fix this situation.
“The IWBF stated its strong intentions to be fully compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code ahead of the IPC Governing Board’s deadline of 31 August 2021. Should this be the case, then once compliant, wheelchair basketball will be guaranteed its re-inclusion into the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
“As for Tokyo 2020, the IWBF is also making good progress with re-assessing all players set for the Games who have sport classes 4.0 and 4.5.
“Overall, both organisations will continue to work together to make sure the IWBF becomes compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code as soon as possible.”
Ulf Mehrens said: “Since the IPC Governing Board’s decision in January 2020, the IWBF has made good progress in implementing changes that will ensure eligible athletes are able to compete at both Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024.
“The re-assessment process of 4.0 and 4.5 sport class players for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is proceeding smoothly and will be completed by the IPC’s deadline of 29 May 2020.
“We are also fully committed to work closely with the IPC to ensure that the IWBF is fully compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code by 31 August 2021 deadline.
“Following this meeting we are greatly reassured that should the IWBF become compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code, wheelchair basketball will be readmitted to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games sport programme.”