The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) expressed confidence it will meet a deadline to reclassify players to ensure the sport features at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, following a "productive" meeting with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
IPC President Andrew Parsons met with IWBF counterpart Ulf Mehrens in São Paulo to discuss wheelchair basketball’s non-compliance with the IPC Athlete Classification Code.
The IPC warned in January that the sport will be removed from this year's Paralympic Games unless the governing body implements an IPC-approved action plan to improve athlete classification by May 29.
Wheelchair basketball was also dropped from the Paris 2024 programme "with immediate effect", but will be reinstated if the IWBF becomes fully compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code by an August 2021 deadline.
The IPC and IWBF say their meeting in Sao Paulo was "productive".
An update was provided to the IPC on the IWBF’s progress in reassessing the eligibility of all players with sport classes 4.0 and 4.5 who are set to compete at Tokyo 2020.
The IPC estimated last month that between 50 to 75 wheelchair basketball athletes should be reclassified.
Parsons claimed the meeting had been a step in the right direction, with the IWBF acknowledging it is not compliant with the classification code.
"The meeting with the IWBF was productive and the federation left under no illusions about the measures it still needs to take in order to ensure its eligible athletes can compete at the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Paralympic Games," Parsons said.
“During the meeting, the IWBF acknowledged that is not compliant with the IPC Classification Code, in particular as it currently applies a different and wider test for determining athlete eligibility.
"This matter has been ongoing for several years and this acceptance by the IWBF is a real step in the right direction and I left the meeting encouraged at the federation’s desire to implement the required changes to fix this situation.
"The IWBF stated its strong intentions to be fully compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code ahead of the IPC Governing Board’s deadline of 31 August 2021.
"Should this be the case, then once compliant, wheelchair basketball will be guaranteed its re-inclusion into the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
"As for Tokyo 2020, the IWBF is also making good progress with re-assessing all players set for the Games who have sport classes 4.0 and 4.5.
"Overall, both organisations will continue to work together to make sure the IWBF becomes compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code as soon as possible."
The IWBF had reportedly expressed serious concerns that several of its national federations could face funding issues should wheelchair basketball not be part of Paris 2024.
The governing body has expressed confidence the sport will feature at Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024, with Mehrens saying it is committed to meeting the deadlines set by the IPC.
"Since the IPC Governing Board’s decision in January 2020, the IWBF has made good progress in implementing changes that will ensure eligible athletes are able to compete at both Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024," said Mehrens.
"The reassessment process of 4.0 and 4.5 sport class players for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is proceeding smoothly and will be completed by the IPC’s deadline of 29 May 2020.
"We are also fully committed to work closely with the IPC to ensure that the IWBF is fully compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code by 31 August 2021 deadline.
"Following this meeting we are greatly reassured that should the IWBF become compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code, wheelchair basketball will be readmitted to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games sport programme."