New Delhi: The big moment for Indian basketball is here. Basketball Federation of India (BFI) today announced INBL 5×5 which will see city-based teams representing Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, in action, over 3 rounds before heading to play-offs in January 2023. On offer for the teams and individuals is a prize money pool in excess of Rs. 50 lakhs.
A delighted Dr. K Govindaraj, MLC President, BFI and Vice-president, Indian Olympic Association (IOA), said,”This day should be marked in golden letters in the history of Indian basketball. We are launching what has been the dream for millions of basketball fans in India. The format which is focused on local teams playing against each other in cities that are relatively more active hubs of basketball in India will ensure hundreds of talents are assessed on the ground for being filtered onto the next level.” “Earlier this year we launched and executed successfully the INBL 3×3 Season 1, which saw 9,000+ players in action in 20 cities across the country. The overwhelming response from the players proved the potential for basketball in India. The current goal of BFI is for Indian National Teams to be ready to play at the 2027 FIBA Basketball World Cup and possibly Olympics thereafter. And I do believe with all the things being done now and planned, we are on the right track,” he further added.
In his comments, Chander Mukhi Sharma, Secretary General, BFI, said, “Ultimately, it is the responsibility of National Federation to ensure that there is sufficient competition for the players and coaches as well as there is enough entertainment for the supporters and fans. I am confident that INBL 5×5 which is being attempted for the first time in India will fulfil both objectives. Players from the National team and National camps over the past few years will be pooled together and distributed to the teams to ensure there is quality action on court,” adding, “In recent times, we have seen some very encouraging progress from our National Teams. The Under 16 team finished an unprecedented fifth in the FIBA U16 Asian Championship and the senior team too has shown steady progress in FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers. All these are very encouraging signs for Indian basketball.”
The 6 teams will play 3 rounds – in Jaipur, Pune and Cuttack. The first round will be played in Jaipur from Oct 12-16 followed by the second round two weeks later from Oct 26-30 at Cuttack. The third round will take place at Pune from Dec 14-18. The play offs are scheduled to be held in Bengaluru from Jan 11-15.
Each round will be spread over 5 days with the 6 teams playing against all the remaining teams once in a round robin. Standings over three rounds will accumulate into final rankings which will form the basis for the seeding for the playoffs.
The Basketball Federation of India in recent times has made a name for itself as a top organizer of international FIBA events. Starting with hosting the 2017 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, the BFI hosted the 2017 FIBA U16 Women’s Asia Championship in the same year followed by the 2018 FIBA U18 Women’s Asian Championship the following year. In 2019, the BFI was the host of the 2019 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup and most recently hosted the 2022 FIBA U18 Women’s Asian Championship.
“The successful hosting of these premier events to the satisfaction of FIBA Asia and FIBA standards has proven the BFI is a very capable and efficient host of international basketball events,” said Dr. K Govindaraj, who in 2019 was awarded the FIBA Presidential medal for National Federations.
Chander Mukhi Sharma further added, “The BFI has also taken an active interest in improving the knowledge and ability of the coaches through various coaching clinics and development programs of FIBA and SAI. We have also made a consistent endeavour to ensure our referees and technical officials are up to date with the latest rules and guidelines in the world. INBL 5×5 will showcase the overall improvement Indian basketball has achieved over the last eight years or so.”
Basketball Federation of India (BFI): Is the governing and controlling body of basketball in India, responsible for the development and promotion of the sport at all levels. Towards this end, it undertakes 3 major initiatives – 1. Developing and organizing the National teams (Senior, U18, U16, U14); 2. Conducting National Leagues in 5×5 & 3×3 formats, National Championships & Federation Cups as scouting & talent identification platforms and 3.Developing the sport from grassroots upwards through, inter alia, coaching certification courses in collaboration with FIBA – the international basketball association, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sport and Sports Authority of India.