FIBA Asia will recommend, but not require vaccination

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 06 2021 04:50 PM

FIBA Asia will recommend, but not require vaccination 1
Action during the Thailand-Philippines game in the November 2020 window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.

MANILA, Philippines -- FIBA Asia cannot make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for those taking part in the upcoming qualifying window, though it will be highly recommended.

Hagop Khajirian, the FIBA Executive Director for Asia, said Saturday on "Power and Play" that they are recommending that all athletes be vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Before coming (to the qualifying windows), if it's possible," he said. 

The much-delayed third and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers will be hosted in biosecure bubbles in Clark, Pampanga, Bahrain and Jordan.

But Khajirian made it clear that they cannot make vaccination a requirement for participation in the qualifiers.

"You know, we cannot coerce or oblige people to take the vaccination. It's up to them. But we cannot have that as a condition," he explained. "But as a recommendation, we'll recommend it to all our athletes, to get vaccinated."

Meanwhile, Khajirian said he is pleased with the preparations for the country's hosting in Clark. The Philippines will host three groups, with games scheduled from June 16 to 20.

Games will be played at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Clark while the teams will be billeted at the Quest Hotel.

"We faced some difficulties, but the (leadership of the) national federation… I have to thank Mr. (Manny V.) Pangilinan for assisting the national federation to solve problems directly concerning COVID-19 and the restrictions in the Philippines," said Khajirian.

"We got so many exemptions, and were allowed not to pass through so many hurdles, to be in the Philippines. We are happy to be back," he added. "We are facing some problems but nothing to do with the locals."

The Philippines will play three games in Clark -- against rivals South Korea on June 16 and 20, and against Indonesia on June 18.