Wheelchair basketball has been conditionally reinstated to the Paris 2024 programme after the IWBF updated its classification rules ©Getty Images

The International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Governing Board has conditionally reinstated wheelchair basketball to the Paris 2024 Paralympics programme.

In January 2022, the IPC Governing Board declared the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) - the governing body of the sport - non-compliant with the 2015 IPC Athlete Classification Code and removed the sport from the Paris 2024 programme with immediate effect. 

The IWBF was given a deadline of August 31 2021 to comply with the classification rules and remain a part of the Paralympic Movement.

The sport was allowed to be a part of Tokyo 2020 while the changes were introduced.

The IPC has now conditionally reinstated wheelchair basketball due to the updated classification rules and classification manual, which were approved by the IWBF Executive Council following the review of the classification system in the action plan in August.

The IPC Governing Board said during a meeting held at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics that it was "pleased by the progress made by the IWBF."

IPC President Andrew Parsons said: "The IPC is pleased with the significant progress made by the IWBF over the last six months in its efforts to achieve Code compliance."

IPC President Andrew Parsons is
IPC President Andrew Parsons is "pleased with the significant progress made by the IWBF" with regards to its classification rules ©Getty Images

The reintegration of wheelchair basketball comes with three conditions.

The first is that the IWBF must effectively and thoroughly put into place its future plans for the 2021 Classification Rules.

The IWBF must also assess all international classified players against the new impairment criteria by December 31 2022, the end of the transition period.

Finally, the IWBF must have "full collaboration, cooperation and transparency" with the IPC and its members, including providing quarterly reports from December 2021 and engaging IPC personnel in the reassessments.

"Due to the ambitiousness of the IWBF’s implementation plan, it is reasonable and necessary for some conditions to be attached to the Board’s compliance decision," added Parsons.

"The conditions are designed to provide assurance that the implementation plan is being followed, and to provide support to the IWBF where necessary. 

"The conditions will require ongoing collaboration, transparency and co-operation between IWBF and the IPC. 

"This has been integral in reaching this point and will remain so for the success of the implementation plan."

Parsons explained that the IWBF must keep its membership and athletes informed on the process and any further changes that may be made.

He concluded: "The IPC will always support the IWBF in its work to further develop its classification systems. 

"We look forward to this successful working relationship continuing and this being the beginning of a new chapter."

The United States won the gold medal in the men's wheelchair basketball at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics ©Getty Images
The United States won the gold medal in the men's wheelchair basketball at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics ©Getty Images

IWBF President Ulf Mehrens expressed his thanks to the IPC for recognising wheelchair basketball prior to the next Summer Paralympics.

"To have wheelchair basketball reinstated onto the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games programme is important not only for our members whose goal it is to compete in a Paralympics, but it is invaluable for the sport to be showcased in one of the biggest global sporting celebrations allowing us to capture and inspire future generations," said Mehrens.

"Classification is the cornerstone to all Para sport and for wheelchair basketball it is no different. 

"It is the responsibility of IWBF to make sure that the high standards of classification for the sport of wheelchair basketball have a fair and transparent classification system that meets the IPC Athlete Classification Code and International Standards.

"On behalf of the whole of IWBF, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to our members and players for their cooperation and support throughout this process. 

"Sincere thanks must also go to all those external stakeholders whose assistance has made it possible, especially the IPC for their collaboration and guidance to get us to this point.

"We look forward to continuing to work with the IPC as we are fully committed to realising our plans and becoming leaders for classification in Para sport."

The changes implemented by the IWBF are set to come into effect from October 1 2020, with an updated classification manual produced.