U.S. basketballer Artino to seek special dispensation for Taiwan citizenship

10/05/2021 09:51 PM
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American basketball player William Artino. Image from Formosa Taishin Dreamers Facebook
American basketball player William Artino. Image from Formosa Taishin Dreamers Facebook

Taipei, Oct. 5 (CNA) American basketball player William Artino will apply for naturalization in Taiwan, seeking exemption from some of the mandatory requirements, so he can join the national team in international competitions, the country's basketball association said Tuesday.

Artino, 29, played in the ASEAN Basketball League in the 2018-19 season for Taiwan's Formosa Dreamers -- now renamed the Formosa Taishin Dreamers -- but his work permit has expired, according to the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA).

In a statement, the CTBA said the men's national basketball team is in dire need of tall players to boost its competitiveness in international competitions.

A decision has been made, therefore, to allow Artino, who is 2.11 meters tall and plays center, to apply for naturalization, without having to renounce his American citizenship or meet the minimum five-year residency requirement, the CTBA said.

Under the Nationality Act of Taiwan, one of the mandatory conditions for a foreign national to apply for naturalization is legal residency in the country for at least five consecutive years, during which they must have stayed for more than 183 days each year.

Special dispensation is being sought for Artino, with the help of Legislators Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) and Wan Mei-ling (萬美玲) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and opposition Kuomintang, respectively, who last week attended a meeting at which the decision was made to pursue that approach, the CTBA said.

Taiwan in 2013 granted citizenship to a foreign basketball player for the first time, under special dispensation, allowing American power forward Quincy Davis to join the national team in international competitions.

While Davis was allowed to forego the five-year residency requirement, he had to relinquish his United States citizenship, and he gained naturalization just before the Taiwan team's registration for the 2013 FIBA Asian Championship.

According to reports, the national team is looking for new foreign players ahead of the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup, and 2022 Asian Games and 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Ken Wang)


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