In a letter published today, the Perth Wheelcats said, “We, the undersigned players and staff of the Be Active Perth Wheelcats wheelchair basketball team, affirm our commitment to see changes made in the management and administration of the sport of wheelchair basketball in Australia. Our commitment to this cause is symbolized by our boycott of the 2015 National Wheelchair Basketball League (NWBL) and to not defend our title as national champions.”
Their complaints against Basketball Australia and the NWBL include the unilateral decision to include two more teams in the 2015 season two weeks before the start of competition despite governance rules prohibiting this type of action. They say they “find it unreasonable and unacceptable that decisions, which effect players and staff involved in the League, can be made at the discretion of Basketball Australia’s administration, without due process and disregarding of their governing regulations.”
The letter states the signatories asked Wheelchair Sports WA to represent their interests, and that the organization’s Chief Executive Officer to find a solution to the current problems.
The signatories also note that they have no desire to malign Basketball Australia publicly, but rather are “serious, dedicated and professional in our attitude and approach to our sport and we are determined and resolute in our position.” The players are looking for a solution for the 2016 season.
Players who have signed the letter include at least six past or current members of Australian national teams including Justin Eveson, Shaun Norris, Michael Hartnett, Amber Merritt, Sarah Vinci, and Brett Nicholson. The players are not unaware of the potential consequences for their decision to boycott this season, stating in the letter that they believe it could impact on their getting selected for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio.