— Published 15 September 2021

Hamane Niang returns to his presidential office

Hamane Niang

A new chapter has begun for Hamane Niang (photo above). Forced to temporarily resign from his role as president of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) for having been cited in an investigation into sexual abuse, the Malian leader can take his seat back. FIBA announced this on Tuesday, September 14th, in a statement where it explained that “the independent report does not provide any evidence to support the allegations that the president, Hamane Niang, knew or should have known about sexual abuse within the Malian Basketball Federation.” The suspicions of sexual abuse within the Malian Federation were revealed by the New York Times and Human Rights Watch, a human rights organisation. They led FIBA to open an investigation, during which Hamane Niang chose to step down as president. The investigation led to the suspension of three new members of the Malian Basketball Federation: coach Fanta Diallou, secretary general Seydou Maiga and vice president Amadou Traore. Last June, FIBA had already suspended two coaches, Amadou Bamba and Oumar Sissoko, plus one official, Hario Maiga. Five weeks later, the body also suspended the president of the federation, Harouna Maiga. In contrast, Hamane Niang was cleared of allegations that he had kept sexual abuse of female basketball players in his country silent. “As the integrity officer has confirmed my innocence, I will now go back to my official duties at FIBA,” said the Malian, who arrived at the presidency of the international body in August 2019. “But these offences must be duly prosecuted by FIBA with independent proceedings.”