Europeans must work together towards a common goal which is the development of basketball was the message sent out by the 2013 FIBA Europe General Assembly which was concluded in Newport, Wales, on Saturday.
With 46 of the 51 member Federations present, Justin Ogleby, Chairman of Basketball Wales took to the floor first to welcome the delegates.
He was followed by guest speaker FIBA President Yvan Mainini, who spoke about the need of a strong, united Europe with all its competitions.
“Our sport is quite clearly in danger. Together we have to lead Europe towards progress and development,” said Mainini.
“Our product is the National Teams [competitions] and we must focus on them; by no means would we want to push the clubs aside but a strong new national team competition system will benefit all, including the clubs.”
He reiterated FIBA’s goal to have 3×3 introduced as a new Olympic discipline by 2016 or 2020 at the latest. Speaking about women’s basketball he added that the basketball community must identify ways to help it grow.
Mainini also stressed that FIBA has taken notice of Europe’s stance towards the calendar and the proposal about the windows. “We will do our best to accommodate them as much as possible,” he said.
FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson spoke in similar fashion in his remarks, pointing out that Europe should be the leading force in the world towards uniting basketball, not dividing it.
He reminded the delegates of the need to respect the current bye-laws structure as it was approved unanimously. He said that several difficult decisions have been made but they were all democratic, including the rejection of a request by a number of member Federations for an extraordinary General Assembly and elections.
“This process against our own basketball family was not celebrated. We would have preferred that the resources used by all parties in the dispute, were used instead to invest back on basketball,” said Rafnsson.
“Our big countries are the drivers to our success; this why I initiated a first forum with their participation to discuss the issues that matter to them the most.
“We understand the frustration of some big countries to not be represented at the Board [of FIBA Europe]; but we expect them to work towards a compromise for the General Assembly next year which is also election year.