Basketball-World federation to discuss graft probe of China official

BEIJING, June 26 (Reuters) - The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) will discuss China’s investigation of a deputy sports minister who sits on its board, but has had no official communication from China on the matter.

The ruling Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog said that Xiao Tian, who also sits on China’s Olympic committee, is being investigated for suspected “serious breaches of discipline and the law”, using a term often employed to denote corruption.

Xiao was elected vice president of FIBA last year though as the next board meeting of basketball’s world governing body is not until August in Japan, he has not had an active role to date, the body said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

“This investigation appears to be part of the on-going national anti-corruption campaign in that country,” FIBA said.

“FIBA is waiting to receive official communication with more details from the Chinese Basketball Association and has not been contacted by the Chinese authorities,” it added.

“The FIBA Executive Committee will discuss next week further developments in this matter in line with the FIBA General Statutes and Internal Regulations.”

It has not been possible to reach Xiao for comment.

China’s sports bodies are in the international spotlight at the moment with Beijing competing with Almaty in Kazakhstan to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2022.

A decision is due in late July.

China, which is aggressively seeking to stamp out graft in Party and government ranks, has also sought to eject corrupt elements from its sports establishment, especially within soccer, which has been hit by match-fixing scandals.

President Xi Jinping, an avowed soccer fan like hundreds of millions of his compatriots, has bemoaned corruption of the game in China as a national embarrassment.

Xi has led a sweeping campaign to root out corruption since assuming power in late 2012, vowing to go after powerful “tigers” as well as lowly “flies”. (Reporting by Michael Martina; Writing by Ben Blanchard)