In a memo sent to all FIBA-affiliated National Basketball Federations, FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis wrote the following about the situation involving professional contracts and the Basketball Arbitral Tribunal under the unique circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The FIBA Secretariat has been approached a number of times in the last weeks regarding the status of employment contracts in professional basketball, especially in view of “force majeure” being often invoked as a reason to terminate contracts or not perform under them. We wish to clarify that in case of financial disputes arising from contracts including a BAT clause, it will be for the BAT as an independent tribunal to decide. FIBA’s involvement is limited to transfer disputes and to the enforcement of BAT awards. That said, FIBA wishes to encourage all registered players, coaches, agents and clubs to acknowledge the unique circumstances we are all going through and reach agreements with mutual concessions to the extent possible. It is important, especially during this period, to exhaust the possibility of amicable resolution of a dispute prior to seeking recourse to any courts. Our National Federations and Leagues are requested to facilitate such discussions, also to the best of their abilities, especially in cases where the championships have been cancelled. FIBA has been informed by the BAT that the first case(s) involving COVID-19 as ‘force majeure’ will be treated in an expedited manner and will be published with their reasoning on the FIBA website, so as to provide as early as possible relevant guidance to the actors in professional basketball.”