Since being established in April 2020, the IWBF Athlete Steering Committee have been actively preparing the foundations to establish and institutionalise a common voice for wheelchair basketball players in the governance of the sport through a Players’ Commission.
The group is currently made up of three athletes: Ella Sabljak, Erica Gavel, and Alhassan Sedky, with Carina De Rooij, from the Netherlands, having stepped down from the group due to personal reasons and time constraints. IWBF Europe are in the process of appointing a new representative to the group.
Egypt’s Alhassan Sedky, the representative for the Africa Zone, said: "The athlete steering committee is a huge step towards including the athletes' voice in our sport. We are determined to create an inclusive commission that puts the well-being of wheelchair basketball athletes as its top priority. The IWBF has been very supportive since we began working on this initiative. I am proud to be part of this process and excited to see how the future will pan out."
The main areas the group are working on include:
• What the composition of the Player Commission will look like
• The eligibility requirements to be part of the Player Commission
• The responsibilities of the Player Commission
• The election process of the Player Commission
To help support and ensure the processes reflect the voice of wheelchair basketball community, the group would like to open the floor to a global conversation and invite any international wheelchair basketball players to take part in an online forum.
Ahead of the online forum, they would like to ask for those interested in being part of the conversation to complete an online survey and register to take part in the forum. The survey is designed for wheelchair basketball players who are (or have been) competing on an international level, and is available in English, Spanish, or Arabic, and must be completed before 20th September 2020.
Canada’s Erica Gavel, representative from the Americas Zone, said: “Progress with the athlete steering committee is going exceptionally well. I am proud of the processes we have in place and excited to see the elected players’ commission come to fruition. A huge thank you to IWBF for being so cooperative and willing to integrate the athlete voice from both a governance and organisational perspective. The future is very exciting!”
With input from the Athlete Steering Committee, it will be IWBF’s Commission for Legal Matters & Eligibility’s responsibility to draft new General Statutes and Internal Regulations for IWBF that embed the voice of players. A draft of which will be presented to the IWBF Congress in 2022 for approval by its members.
Outside the duties of creating the Players’ Commission, a representative from the Athlete Steering Committee is also invited as a non-voting guest to the IWBF Executive Council meetings to voice their perspective on key issues until the elected Players’ Commission has been established and integrated into the governance of the sport.
Australia’s Ella Sabljak, representative from the Asia Oceania Zone, said: “The steering committee is progressing extremely well. We are working really hard around the clock to ensure we put together and establish a super inclusive players’ commission to be voted for in the near future.
“I am absolutely loving this journey and learning so much from everyone in the wheelchair basketball community and beyond. The IWBF have welcomed us with open arms whilst having a continual focus on being an athlete centred group and hearing the athletes voice.
We are creating an exciting space for all wheelchair basketball athletes to feel valued, heard and respected.”
The Athlete Steering Committee is contactable on the following e-mail [email protected]