October 24, 2014

TOKYO (AP) Japan is facing a potential ban from basketball's world governing body FIBA over a failure to merge its two top leagues.

FIBA has said it will suspend the Japan Basketball Association if its mandate of a merger between the two leagues is not met by the end of October.

The ban would prevent all of Japan's national teams from taking part in international competitions, including the Olympics.

JBA president Yasuhiko Fukatsu announced his resignation late Thursday, saying it will be difficult for the national body to come to a conclusion on the merger between the 22-team Basketball Japan League and the 13-team National Basketball League.

''FIBA has pointed out our lack of governance, particularly seen in the unification of the two leagues,'' Fukatsu said in announcing his resignation. ''In order to achieve this, the JBA and the two leagues have agreed to form one league. Yet we have not received final agreements (from all the clubs) at this point.''

FIBA maintains that having two leagues is in violation of its general statutes because the JBA doesn't have full control and governance of basketball in Japan.

The ban could be especially damaging for the women's team, which is in good position to qualify for the 2016 Olympics after winning its first Asian Championship title in 43 years last year.

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