Saturday, September 09, 2006

Asian Games Men's basketball draw ignited controversy

2006 Doha Asian Games organizing committee announced its men's basketball draw Thursday and immediately ignited controversy as Taiwan was left out of the top eight seeds. Local report said FIBA Asia has ruled the draw invalid.

According to the organizing committee, a new two-phase system will be implemented in Doha Asian Games men's basketball since there are as many as 20 countries enter the tournament.

Twelve countries will have to play in a four-group preliminary games in the first phase with four group winners advance to the second phase along with eight seeds in the 12-team second phase.

The organizing committee announced the eight seeds without elaborating the seeding format. On paper, it looked like the top eight teams in the 2005 Asian Championship were seeded and get to skip the first phase.

Since 8th-place Saudi Arabia decided not sending a team to Doha, its seed will have to be replaced. However it was Kazakhstan, which finished 10th-place in 2005 Asian Championship, and not Taiwan -- 9th-place in 2005 -- was placed as the 8th seed.

The decision to place China (2005 Asian Championship champ), Lebanon (runner-up) and Japan (5th) in the same group in the second phase was also controversial. Observers think host Qatar placed itself in the easier group.

Min-shen Daily reported Saturday that FIBA Asia has informed the organizing committee about the questionable seeding and competition system.

FIBA Asia stated that it has the final call on the system and seeding in major Asian competitions. It will hold a re-draw and designate the play system in a future date.

Doha Asian Games organizing committee announced the men's basketball draw and play system as follows:

First Phase
Group A: India, Macau, Bahrain
Group B: Uzbekistan, Palestine, Mongolia
Group C: Hong Kong, Syria, Afghanistan
Group D: Kuwait, Taiwan, UAE

Second Phase
Group A: Qatar, South Korea, Jordan, Iran, A1, C1
Group B: China, Lebanon, Japan, Kazakhstan, B1, D1