Wheelcats boycotting basketball league

Wheelcats |co-captains Shaun Norris (left) and Justin Eveson.  Picture: Marcus Whisson  d402741
Wheelcats |co-captains Shaun Norris (left) and Justin Eveson. Picture: Marcus Whisson d402741

THE Perth Wheelcats are boycotting the 2015 National Wheelchair Basketball League after another Perth team was added to the competition just weeks before round one.

Wheelchair Sport WA Association chief executive Raymond Yong said the decision to boycott the 2015 NWBL season was a last resort.

The dispute between the defending champions and Basketball Australia involved changes to fixtures as a result of a new Perth team being introduced at late notice.

Mr Yong said the players were apprehensive to turn their backs on the upcoming season, but understood the reasons for it.

“They didn’t want this to happen, they very reluctantly did it, but felt that at some stage the principle had to stand – you can’t run a league while changing fixtures two weeks out from the season,” Mr Yong said.

“The final fixtures are issued in March and it was only two weeks out that they changed the fixtures by introducing a new team and rescheduled games, which would have made it ridiculous for us to compete.”

Mr Yong said the decision by Basketball Australia chief executive Anthony Moore to introduce a new team to the league contravened the governing body’s internal governance, rules and regulations.

“The players are united and determined to bring change to the senior management of Basketball Australia and to ensure that the people managing the sport of Wheelchair Basketball in Australia are accountable to their own rules and regulations and act in the best interests of the athletes,” he said.

A signed statement from the Wheelcats team was released on Thursday and apologised for any inconvenience the decision caused other wheelchair athletes.

“We take these actions reluctantly and knowing full well that, for some of us, it may impact our chances to represent Australia at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games in 2016,” the statement said.

Basketball Australia could not respond before deadline.