Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani has been FIBA Asia president since 2002. He was one of the governing body’s vice-presidents in 2019 and has now been unanimously elected as its new president. The Qatari will hold the position from 2023 until 2027 after succeeding Hamane Niang.
Yesterday, as the XXII FIBA Congress convened, he came out as the biggest winner. He had this to say after he was declared the new president:
“It is a great honor to take over this responsibility: for me, for my country of Qatar, and for our continent of Asia. I now represent the interests of all 212 National Federations across all five Regions.
“Basketball is a global sport and this is our most important strength. I can only make one promise today and that is that I will work hard with the leaders of FIBA and the entire Central Board for the good of basketball and for the good of FIBA.”
Together with Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani, a new Central Board made up of officers from 13 different countries, will also govern the body with the president. On Sept. 9, just when the 2023 FIBA World Cup will conclude in Manila, Philippines, the newly-formed Central Board will have a get-together.
Before his decades of service with FIBA, Sheikh Saud Al Thani also served as president of Qatar’s national basketball federation and vice-president of the country’s Olympic committee.
Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani will be a central figure in the 2023 FIBA World Cup
The 2023 FIBA World Cup, which will begin in a few hours, is hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. 32 teams will be playing in 92 games over roughly two weeks of competition. The winner also automatically qualifies for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani will reportedly be in Manila for several days, particularly starting the last stages of the tournament. The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will be hosted by the Philippines, a country that hasn’t played that role for nearly half a century.
Spain enters the tournament as the defending champion and will have a large target on its back. Team USA, France, Canada, Australia and a few others will try to dethrone the Spaniards.
The Philippines, who had a huge win over Senegal in 2014, will be looking to give their fans something to cheer for. Japan, who finished 31st four years ago in China, is hoping to put on a better performance as one of the host countries.
In the background will be Sheikh Saud Ali Al Thani and FIBA who will be making sure everything goes as planned.