The 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball was thrown intocontroversy after the sport’s governing body launched aninvestigation against Australia over its controversial loss toAngola in the group stages of the tournament.
The Boomers, which opened as 10.5-point favorites againstAngola, rested several of its key players and let a 15-point leadslip against Angola on its way to losing, 91-83. The resultimmediately drew criticism, most notably from Slovenia and PhoenixSuns point guard Goran Dragic who used Twitter to blast theallegedly Australia’s decision to throw the game in favor ofgetting a favorable seed in the elimination round and avoid a classwith Team USA at least until the semi-finals.
“Basketball is a beautiful sport, there is no room for fixingthe game like today Australia vs. Angola! @FIBA should do somethingabout that!” Dragic posted.
Australia’s head coach Andrej Lemanis dismissed any suggestionthat his team lost on purpose. The injured Australian star centerAndrew Bogut questioned the governing body’s consistency.
“So u can naturalize a plyer who has nver stepped foot in acountry, but you cant rest players in a game 2 better a draw 4youself? Ok @FIBA,” Bogut wrote on Twitter.
Bogut was probably referencing Andray Blatche, who suited up forGilas Pilipinas a few weeks after being granted citizenship in thePhilippines.
FIBA’s investigation is currently ongoing and there’s a realchance that Australia could be disciplined harshly if it’sdiscovered that the team intentionally lost the game againstAngola.
Despite Bogut’s assertions, Basketball Australia issued aresponse to FIBA’s decision to open an investigation on the game,decrying the move as an “insult to the country’s sporting
“Basketball Australia categorically rejects any suggestion thatthe Australian Boomers were a party to contriving the result of the2014 FIBA World Cup game between Australia and Angola,” the group’sstatement said.
“The Australian Boomers went into the game against Angola towin—plain and simple. Claims to the contrary are widelyspeculative, insulting to the Australian sporting culture and toour playing group who gave their very best throughout thistournament.”
The scenario also rings some match-fixing alarm bells, althoughthere doesn’t appear to be any signs that the team allegedly threwthat game for that specific purpose. SO reached out tomany sportsbooks and none of them observed any irregular action oneither team before and during the game.
The alleged strategy proved irrelevant after a 65-64 loss toTurkey in their sudden-death round of 16 game, but BasketballAustralia must now formally defend the performance against Angolaor face possible sanctions such as a fine.