BA decides not to act over Bibby spray
Jess Bibby blasted Basketball Australia. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Canberra Capitals skipper Jess Bibby will not be punished for criticising Basketball Australia and the sport's governing body insists it is ''hell bent'' on improving the WNBL.
BA ended its silence on Tuesday about the inequality between the elite men's and women's national leagues after veteran Bibby vented her dissatisfaction about a range of issues last week.
Bibby revealed men's teams were given access to the Virgin Velocity airport lounges on road trips while women's teams were denied the same luxury.
Centre of controversy ... Jess Bibby. Photo: Rohan Thomson
The veteran then said BA was not interested in improving and promoting the WNBL.
But acting BA chief executive Graeme Allan denied there was gender inequality in the sport and was adamant the WNBL was one of the organisation's highest priorities.
Allen - who was in Canberra on Tuesday to meet with Basketball ACT and the Australian Sports Commission on separate matters - said access to the airport lounges was a sponsorship decision by Virgin, not BA.
''I don't blame the girls for having these opinions, but we are working to improve the things we do for the WNBL and women's basketball in this country,'' Allan told The Canberra Times. ''There hasn't been a deliberate ploy from BA to say we're going to give [lounge access] to the guys and not the girls … [gender] never comes into the discussion.
''We've been trying to get it sorted for 18 months … but Virgin sponsor the NBL and not Basketball Australia so they determine their sponsorship arrangements.''
Allan is a former chief executive of defending WNBL champions the Dandenong Rangers.
Bibby received widespread support for her honest appraisal of the league's situation.
The 33-year-old is in her 16th WNBL season and feared officials had placed the NBL as a priority over the WNBL.
It's the second time BA has been involved in a gender debate in 12 months after it emerged the men's national team flew business class to the London Olympic Games while the more successful women's team travelled in economy.
Canberra coach Carrie Graf said: ''The WNBL is in a great space but like all female sports we're trying to kick on.
''We're chipping away [at areas that need to improve] but it's a long process.''
The Capitals broke a nine-game losing streak by beating the West Coast Waves last weekend.
But Graf admits her team faces a tough contest against championship favourite Dandenong on Saturday night, just two weeks after an embarrassing 39-point loss to the Rangers.
WNBL round 15: Canberra Capitals v Dandenong Rangers at AIS Arena, 7pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.