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Mali basketball rocked by claims of sexual abuse

BOITUMELO RANTAO 

HAMANE Niang, head of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), has stepped aside from his role amid an investigation into allegations of systematic exploitation of female players at the Mali federation.

Since The New York Times and Human Rights Watch showcased the published allegations, more than 12 coaches and officials have been implicated in the sexual abuse of almost 100 women’s players.

Niang is not directly implicated in the sexual abuse allegations but the alleged systemic sexual harassment in the Mali Basketball Federation took place during his time as the head of the organisation from 1999 until 2007.

Coach Amadou Bamba, coach Oumar Sissoko and official Hario Maiga have been suspended from all FIBA activities whilst the investigation is open.

Niang has said that he will fully cooperate with the investigation “FIBA has zero tolerance for all forms of harassment and abuse and extends its heartfelt compassion for victims of such conduct,” it said.

The players said they did not alert the authorities in a country where sexual violence against women is commonplace and laws to protect them are weak.

The investigation will be done by FIBA’s integrity officer Richard McLaren, the Canadian law professor who authored a report into Russia’s state-backed doping scandal.

The Tokyo Olympics opening July 23 was to be a highlight of Niang’s four years as FIBA president, which began in 2019.

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By The African Mirror

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