Report: Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney Ogwumike, Elizabeth Williams File Appeal to FIBA

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Sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams reportedly filed an appeal to FIBA, challenging its ruling on their applications to play for the Nigerian national team in the Tokyo Olympics, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

The final rosters for the Summer Games are due by Sunday. 

The organization reportedly denied Nneka and Williams's applications to play for their native country while Chiney's was approved as a naturalized player—only one is allowed per roster—according to ESPN. Meanwhile, the third sister, Erica Ogwumike, is fully cleared. 

FIBA's reason for denying Nneka was due to her "substantial involvement" with Team USA for more than a decade, according to ESPN's Shelburne and Mechelle Voepel

The Ogwumikes and Williams's appeal focused on Article 3-22 of the FIBA Internal Regulations, arguing that the secretary general should have considered whether their involvement would be "in the interest of the development of basketball" in the country.  

"Unequivocally, this is the case for a country currently ranked 17th in the FIBA World Rankings," the appeal says. "A strong finish by the Nigeria women's basketball team at the Olympic Games would undoubtedly be in the interest of the development of basketball in Nigeria."

The appeal also highlights that the three have been Nigerian citizens since birth "by virtue of being born to Nigerian citizens while abroad."

This point is crucial for their appeal due to Chiney's current approval as a naturalized citizen. If her status is not changed to full citizenship, like Erica's, the ability to add Nneka and Williams to Nigeria's roster could be impacted if they were cleared and given the status of naturalized citizens. 

"They are Nigerian," the appeal states. "They have family and friends in Nigeria. Their parents are Nigerian. They are just as much at home in Nigeria as they are when they are in the USA ... and would be invaluable assets to Team Nigeria, and would help grow the sport of basketball in Nigeria for years to come."

All three reportedly plan to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if FIBA does not grant their appeal.

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