FIBA President Hamane Niang is accused of neglecting to sexually harass women, according to the New York Times, with the World Federation launching an investigation and temporarily removing him from the presidency.
After helping turn Mali into a basketball powerhouse in women's basketball, a remarkable achievement for one of the world's poorest countries, Hamane Niang was elected FIBA president in 2019.
As such, he is the highest-ranking international basketball official and was scheduled to chair the Olympic basketball tournament starting next month in Tokyo.
But on Sunday, Niang resigned as FIBA president, at least temporarily, as the New York Times prepared to publish an investigation into allegations of systematic sexual harassment and abuse of dozens of female players in Mali, most of them teenagers, at least since the early 2000s.
Niang, 69, has not been charged with sexual assault. But critics say he largely ignored the abuse of women for 12 years between 1999 and 2011, when he first served as president of the Mali Basketball Federation and then as the country's sports minister.
Niang “strongly denies” the allegations, FIBA said in an email to The Times on Sunday night, but will resign as head of the organization and cooperate, while FIBA is conducting its own investigation. Niang did not answer a series of questions sent to him last week by The Times via FIBA, but said in an email Sunday night: “I was never involved and I never had any knowledge of the allegations in the correspondence. your”.
Two basketball coaches from Mali, who are accused of abusing current and former players, have been suspended by FIBA, as well as a high-ranking official of the African basketball federation.
FIBA said it had “zero tolerance for all forms of harassment and abuse and extends its sincere sympathy to the victims of such behavior.” He said he was committed to ensuring that the allegations contained in The Times' report were “taken seriously and properly investigated”.