By Neto Baptiste
The relationship between the USA-based Central Basketball Association (CBA) and the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA) has ended.
This was confirmed by president of the association, Kebra Nanton, who said the venture has become unsustainable from a financial standpoint.
“Usually, the CBA would cover the airfare cost to get them to Antigua, and then the association would take care of the accommodation while they are in Antigua, and it depends on the number of players we have and the period has been, for the past two years, five months in 2018 and last year, it was six months,” she said.
In the previous arrangement, teams competing in Division One of the domestic competition were allowed to import a maximum of two CBA players at a subsidised cost of $1,500 per player. The association, according to Nanton, was responsible for the accommodation of the players which she estimated at a cost of around $50,000 per season.
The basketball head said that, however, teams are still free to source outside players at their own expense.
“The teams can source their players from wherever, because we’re not really in the business of providing players to teams because we are not running a professional league. All it is, the original arrangement with us in terms of getting players from CBA, it didn’t just include players playing, it involved them coming here and being involved in basketball development, whether it’s coaching and just giving back of their time in another way,” Nanton said.
However, the president cautioned that a cap has been placed on the amount of players any one team can feature at once.
“A team cannot have more than four overseas players and we’ve just capped it so wherever they get the players from and they can be on the court at the same time, it can only be four registered [overseas] players at the same time. The league will start January 26th and we just opened registration; the deadline for the registration is January 20th,” she said.
Division One teams were reportedly informed of the change during a recent meeting. The CBA initiative started in 2018 during the tenure of now Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, with the signing of eight players out of the USA.