FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, today (August 23) elected Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani from Qatar as its new president along with new central board members for the 2023 to 2027 term. 

Al Thani will succeed Mali’s Hamane Niang and was elected unanimously by the national federations present at the FIBA congress in Manila, Philippines.

The FIBA presidency rotates between continents, and it is Asia’s turn to fill the role for the next four-year term.

Al Thani was FIBA vice president for the previous cycle, which began in 2019, and has been president of FIBA Asia since 2002, having formerly been president of the Qatar Basketball Federation and a vice president of the Qatar Olympic Committee.

On his election, he said: “It is a great honor to take over this responsibility, for me, for my country of Qatar, and for our continent of Asia. I now represent the interests of all 212 national federations across all five regions. 

“Basketball is a global sport and this is our most important strength. I can only make one promise today and that is that I will work hard with the leaders of FIBA and the entire central board for the good of basketball and for the good of FIBA.” 

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Al Thani's presidency will encompass the 2027 men's World Cup which was recently awarded to his home country Qatar and will be the first to be staged in the Middle East.  

Former Chinese player Yao Ming is among the notable names on FIBA’s new central board. 

Ming, who enjoyed a 14-year career, including nine years in North America’s NBA, is currently president of the Chinese Basketball Association.

FIBA’s new central board members for the next four-year term also include: Carol Callan (USA), Yamil Alejandro Bukele Perez (El Salvador) Usie Richards of Virgin Islands, Yuko Mitsuya (Japan), Carmen Tocala (Romania), Matej Erjavec (Slovenia), Asterios Zois (Greece), Tor Christian Bakken (Norway), Jubilee Kuartei (Palau), Burton Ross Shipley (New Zealand), Pascale Mugwaneza (Rwanda), and Jean-Michel Ramaroson (Madagascar).

In addition, Ingo Weiss from Germany was re-elected for his third term as FIBA treasurer. 

The central board members, along with the newly elected president and treasurer, will make up the FIBA board for the new term alongside secretary general Andreas Zagklis and the presidents of FIBA's five regions: Anibal Manave of Africa, Fabian Borro of the Americas, K Govindraj of Asia, Jorge Garbajosa of Europe, and David Reid of Oceania.

The central board will appoint a representative of the NBA and a representative of the players and will convene for the first time on September 9 in Manila, on the occasion of the final weekend of the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The 32-team World Cup, which will also be staged in Japan and Indonesia, will tip off on Friday (August 25).

Meanwhile, FIBA has partnered with blockchain technology provider Venly to launch Basketball World Cup digital collectibles. 

The two parties will work together to offer four digital NFT collectibles around the tournament. 

Tim Dierckxsens, chief executive and co-founder of Venly, said: “This collaboration represents an exciting convergence of sports and cutting-edge technology, aligning seamlessly with our mission to empower brands and platforms through blockchain.

“By creating a unique space for fans to celebrate their shared passion for basketball, we're not only making blockchain accessible but also changing how fans engage with the sport. This underscores our commitment to unity, innovation, and the boundless potential of blockchain technology.”

Frank Leenders, FIBA Media and Marketing Services director general, added: “Having these collectible digital assets emphasizes how FIBA is embracing innovation and technology. Not only will they bring opportunities for fans globally to access new products, but will also help further grow the interest around the World Cup.”