The former coach of Mali’s junior women’s basketball team has been handed a lifetime ban from the sport following an investigation in allegations of “systemic sexual harrassment within the Mali Basketball Federation (FMBB)”.
Amadou Bamba is one of five former coaches and officials sanctioned following the investigation carried out by the sport’s global governing body, Fiba.
Former FMBB president Harouna Maiga has been handed an eight-year suspension while former secretary general Seydou Maiga receives a six-year suspension. There are four and two-year suspension respectively for Amadou Traore, a former FMBB vice president, and former assistant coach Fatoumata Diallo.
All parties will have to complete Fiba-approved safeguarding training before being allowed to return to the sport.
Fiba began disciplinary actions against 10 people in June 2021 shortly after receiving the allegations of abuse, initially handing out provisional suspensions.
At the time, Fiba’s president, Hamane Niang, who is from Mali and was FMBB president between 1999 and 2007, also agreed to step aside temporarily. He resumed his position three months later after being cleared of overlooking abuse.
An independent report commissioned by Fiba and published in September 2021 confirmed “sexual abuse within the FMBB over decades”, and described testimony given by some officials as “evasive, contradictory and untruthful”.
The report also stated: “The FMBB has been negligent for decades in what appears to have become an institutionalised system of sexual abuse and harassment and cover-ups”.
As well as the five bans handed out on Wednesday, Fiba says it has “focused on developing safeguarding policies, resources and education, and improving protection of persons in vulnerable situations within the Mali basketball landscape”.
The organisation has also approved the creation of the Fiba Safeguarding Council, appointing Prince Feisal Al Hussein, president of Jordan’s Olympic Committee, as its chairman.
Mali is not the only African nation to find itself caught up in allegations of sexual abuse within basketball. In September 2021, the BBC reported on an investigation by international campaign group Human Rights Watch into similar problems in the sport in Kenya.