The IWBF Athlete Steering Committee is planning to hold an online forum ©IWBF

An International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IBWF) Athlete Steering Committee will host an online forum as the group continues work on establishing a Players’ Commission.

The IWBF Athlete Steering Committee was formed in April, with Erica Gavel of Canada, Ella Sabljak of Australia, Egypt's Alhassan Sedky and Carina De Rooij of The Netherlands appointed to the body.

De Rooij has since stepped down from the group due to personal reasons and time constraints, with IWBF Europe in the process of appointing a new representative.

The steering committee is tasked with outlining what the composition of the Players' Commission will look like, as well as eligibility requirements, responsibilities and the election process.

"The athlete steering committee is a huge step towards including the athletes’ voice in our sport," said Sedky.

"We are determined to create an inclusive commission that puts the well-being of wheelchair basketball athletes as its top priority.

"The IWBF has been very supportive since we began working on this initiative.

"I am proud to be part of this process and excited to see how the future will pan out."

The Athlete Steering Committee has announced plans to hold an online forum, which it hopes will allow a global conversation.

International wheelchair basketball players will be invited to take part in the forum, with interested parties requested to complete and online questionnaire and register to take part.

The survey is designed for wheelchair basketball players who are or have previously competed on an international level.

The survey, which is available in English, Spanish or Arabic, must be completed before September 20.

Among the tasks for the Athlete Steering Committee is to guide the IWBF’s Commission for Legal Matters and Eligibility in "establishing and institutionalising a common voice for IWBF athletes in the governance of the sport".

This will include providing input to the draft of new general statutes and internal regulations for IWBF that embed the voice of players.

The draft will be presented to the IWBF Congress in 2022 for approval by its members.

A representative from the Athlete Steering Committee is also invited as a non-voting guest to the IWBF Executive Council meetings to voice their perspective on key issues until the elected Players’ Commission has been established.

"We are working really hard around the clock to ensure we put together and establish a super inclusive players’ commission to be voted for in the near future," Sabljak said.

"I am absolutely loving this journey and learning so much from everyone in the wheelchair basketball community and beyond.

“The IWBF have welcomed us with open arms whilst having a continual focus on being an athlete centred group and hearing the athletes voice.

"We are creating an exciting space for all wheelchair basketball athletes to feel valued, heard and respected.”

The IWBF has previously faced criticism from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) over a lack of athlete voice within the governing body.

The issue was raised over the classification dispute within the sport, which saw the IPC order the IWBF to reassess athletes' classifications earlier this year.

The IPC said wheelchair basketball was not complying with its classification rules and threatened the sport with removal from Tokyo 2020 if a May 29 deadline to implement an action plan was not met.

Wheelchair basketball has also lost its place at Paris 2024 but this could be reversed if the IWBF becomes "fully compliant" with the IPC Athlete Classification Code by August 2021.

Nine athletes were found to be ineligible for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with the process having prompted criticism.

The IPC has stressed the rules of the sport must be followed to ensure the integrity of the competitions.