FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis: Our goal is to make basketball the most popular sport in the world

FIBA
Photo: FIBA

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis spoke with the media and referred to his goal with the Federation, the FIBA Windows, the EuroLeague and more.

Here is what the experienced executive said:

On his target as FIBA Secretary General: “Our goal is to make basketball the most popular sport in the world. The late Patrick Baumann brought me to the World Federation. As you know, we lost him under circumstances we’ll never forget.

We are obligated to continue his work by doing a lot of work ourselves and good management. We must continue the mission he had begun and develop other projects too. We are at the end of a circle.”

On the FIBA Windows: “The “Windows” have very specific principals: For the national teams to play at home and away from it and have the opportunity to fight for qualification. This is something we had requested from many Federations. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of discussion for the fact that the clubs don’t give permission to the players to compete. That’s how the situation is.

We left a summer empty of games every four years for the players. This format gives us the opportunity to expand in other countries and audiences that aren’t very familiar with the sport. You’ve seen the growth numbers on all levels regarding the Qualifiers. It’s something that especially pleases us.”

On the FIBA Intercontinental Cup: “We made a big step forward. We showed that we have excellent cooperation with the NBA. The next step is to have the FIBA Asia Cup champion. I believe it will be the next addition while developing this tournament’s roster. The Brazilian Federation does a great job to carry out a very qualitative tournament. Then we will expand in other continents.”

On the relationship with the EuroLeague: “The FIBA family appreciates EuroLeague members attending the funeral of Mr. Baumann and they also sent a congratulatory letter for my election. There have been many talks in the past.

Me, as well as EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu are lawyers and have a similar background. We have to find a form of cooperation at the highest level and this can happen only through dialogue.”

On the Basketball Champions League: “It’s a league that has been going on for three years and, as of now, the improvement on all levels makes us happy. The improvement that has to do with the team rosters, competitiveness, and suspense. The Federations owns 50% in the competition, but we want much more. The clubs participate because they have a good run in their national leagues and this is a very right principal for a league.

BCL has clubs from over 20 countries and isn’t limited to 7-8 countries. The league has done great leaps in its second and third year regarding the money that it can offer to the participants. The more you show that you can properly organize a league and improve it, the more the people’s attention increases – as it is happening right now – the more likely that the level is improved.

BCL is a league that many countries want and provides an example to other continents to cooperate with it. If we compare the rosters in this third season with the first, there’s a clear difference. It’s a project that gives value to the Rankings of domestic leagues and helps them.”