Andray BlatchIf there is one basketball player that seems to be the man of the moment these days, it is Andray Blatche. The player has had an excellent tournament for the Philippines at the FIBA World Cup. His form has been so strong that the fact that he remains a free agent was the subject of debate for plenty of experts and fans, including ourselves. Of course, that was all for yesterday because today there is another big issue surrounding the player.

It seems as though there is some confusion over whether the player is eligible to play for Philippines in the upcoming Asian Games. The games are being held in Incheon in South Korea, with the tournament getting underway on the 19th of September. FIBA have said that the naturalised player is going to be eligible to play in the tournament but this stands at odds with an announcement made by the Incheon Asian Games Olympic Committee (IAGOC).

The committee said that as the player hasn’t completed a three year residency, he doesn’t meet their criteria to be allowed to play in the tournament. With the Philippines national team looking to grab their first Gold medal in the tournament since 1962, you can understand why they are keen to have their best player involved in the event.

FIBA want the player to play

FIBA LogoTheir hopes have been strengthened by the fact that FIBA have announced that the eligibility rules that are in place for the FIBA World Cup are also in place for the Asian Games. This makes sense and you would have to think that the ruling body of the sport is the one that gets to make the big decisions when it comes to matters of this nature.

FIBA have issued a letter which has directed towards the Secretary General Kwon Kyungsang, the director Mun Hosung and the director general Jo Youngha. In the letter, FIBA have outlined that the player was eligible for their big event and that FIBA’s eligibility rules apply to all of the championships played under the FIBA banner, including the basketball event of the Olympic Games.

Philippines hopes rest on Blatche

Incheon Asian GamesThe player was only naturalised last June has become a firm favourite with the Philippines fans and it would be a massive wrench if he was unable to make his way into this event. Tournaments like the Asian Games need every bit of help that they can to gain prominence in the sporting calendar and having one of the starts of the main event will surely help one of the smaller events. You can bet that there will be plenty of people looking for a resolution to this case before they place their bets on the FIBA Asian Games. With Blatche involved, you would have to say that the Philippines are one of the favourites to clinch Gold in South Korea. If the player is not able to play, you will have to think that other teams may be more attractive to basketball betting fans.

Blatche is not the only player being penalised at this point in time with Quincy David from the Chinese Taipei also being told that he will not feature in this major event. This is the sort of thing that would be deemed to be unthinkable in other events and sports around the world. For one, the sponsors wouldn’t hear of such a thing occurring. If you are going to have naturalisation rules in place for the sport, individual organisations cannot be allowed to set their own criteria, even if it is carried out with the hope of benefiting youth development or local interest.