Three Boomers suspended for Philippines ‘basket-brawl’, Basketball Australia fined
r 1Boomers trio Daniel Kickert, Thon Maker and Chris Goulding have been suspended for their role in the sickening brawl in the World Cup qualifying game against the Philippines earlier this month, while Basketball Australia (BA) has been hit with a heavy fine.
Thirteen players and two coaches from both teams were sanctioned by basketball's governing body FIBA following the incident in the Asian qualifying fixture in Bulacan on July 2, which was eventually abandoned, with Kickert suspended for five World Cup qualifiers, Maker for three and Goulding one.
- Boomers Daniel Kickert (five games), Thon Maker (three), Chris Goulding (one) handed bans
- Basketball Australia fined $135,000
- 10 Phillipines players banned, national federation fined $337,000
Their Boomers teammates Nathan Sobey and Jason Cadee escaped sanction.
Kickert, Maker and Goulding were disciplined by the FIBA disciplinary panel for unsportsmanlike behaviour, however Kickert and Goulding were also sanctioned for inciting unsportsmanlike behaviour.
BA has been handed a disciplinary fine of $135,000 for the unsportsmanlike behaviour of its players and "for abusing and/or tampering of equipment, after having removed floor stickers from the court on the eve of the game".
Ten members of the Philippines squad were suspended for unsportsmanlike behaviour, with Roger Pogoy, whose elbowing of Goulding helped spark the brawl, given a five-game ban, which also related to inciting unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Pogoy's teammate Calvin Abueva received a six-game suspension that also related to previous misconduct in a FIBA competition.
Philippines head coach Vincent Reyes was given a one-game suspension and a $14,000 disciplinary fine and his assistant Joseph Uichico was banned for three games. Its national federation was fined $337,000.
FIBA also announced the Philippines squad "will play the next home game behind closed doors while a ban for two more home games has been placed under a probationary period" of three years.
The referees who officiated the game were also suspended by FIBA for 12 months.
Kickert has already announced he has accepted his suspension and BA chief executive Anthony Moore said his organisation was "unlikely" to challenge the sanctions but it would discuss the possibility of an appeal at a board meeting on Friday.
He said he does believe, however, that Goulding's suspension was excessive considering his role in the brawl.
"On the surface that one-game suspension was harsh … it's is a little bit challenging to accept," Moore told the ABC.
The bans handed out to the three Boomers players only apply to World Cup qualifying games and not their respective club commitments.
But Moore said the BA board would discuss whether any further action would be taken against the Boomers, noting the incident was a "black spot" on the game in Australia.
"Basketball Australia has its own code of conduct, we've already established our own terms of reference through Simon Bishop, our head of integrity," he said.
"That's a process that our board will tick off tomorrow and we've started that investigation."
Boomers cleared of racism allegations
Moore said he welcomed FIBA's finding that no discriminatory or racist language was used by Australian Boomers players, as had been alleged.
"There were no derogatory, discriminatory or racist comments from the Australian players," he said.
"We're quite pleased we can dismiss those allegations that were made."
Tensions boiled over with four minutes remaining in the third quarter of the game, with players and officials from both sides, plus a number of unruly fans, flooding the court in disgraceful scenes of violence.
The Boomers were cruising to victory with a 79-48 lead before the game descended into farce after Pogoy lashed out at Goulding with an errant elbow.
Kickert's retaliation on Pogoy sparked the all-in brawl, which included punches, elbows, kicks and objects — including a chair — hurled at players.
The game was interrupted for more than 30 minutes as the referees assessed the situation, but eventually continued in ridiculous fashion, with the Philippines only able to field three players against Australia's five.
International rules state that games must continue unless a team only has a single player available and the remaining Filipino players eventually fouled themselves out of the game, which was called off before the end of the third quarter.
Both BA and the Philippines national federation issued a joint apology in the days following the incident.
The Boomers and the Philippines are not scheduled to meet again unless they face each other at the FIBA World Cup in China next year or the next Asia Cup.