Credit: SIPA – Scanpix
Credit SIPA – Scanpix

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis held a virtual press conference where he discussed the year 2021 for FIBA and answered the most relevant questions regarding international basketball presence and the future. 

"We consider the year of 2021 as successful, which exceeded the expectations of events delivery and their success," Zagklis said in an opening statement. "We were coming off of the year of postponed Olympics, which changed the FIBA calendar a lot."

Certainly, one of the major successes was completing the Qualifiers of continental cups in all five continents with more than 70 national teams and a few thousand players traveling to represent their countries.

All of that was done by respecting and prioritizing everyone's health without causing major illnesses as a result of participating in our events.

We continue strong with our strategy. We're putting FIBA Plus program and launching FIBA Academy next year. Both programs are at a good speed and use new technologies. We had a lot of progress in our women's basketball strategy. We had an increase of 25% of women referees who were given licenses.

Also, for the first time, a woman referee officiated the men's Olympic basketball tournament game in Tokyo. At the same time, we continue programs for women coaching," Zagklis continued.

FIBA Secretary General was also delighted about the progress of the Basketball Champions League, reminding that four teams from four different continents will meet in Cairo, where FIBA Intercontinental Cup will take place.

"For the first time, Basketball Champions League winners San Pablo Burgos, Basketball Champions League Americas title holders Flamengo, Basketball Africa League winners Zamalek (Egypt)  will join G League champions Lakeland Magic in an Intercontinental Cup tournament," Zagklis said.

Zagklis concluded his statement by saying about the changes in the FIBA Qualifiers window, which will take place on August 25-29. That's one week from EuroBasket 2022 tournament, which will begin on September 1.

"Having considered the workload of the players and request of national leagues, we have made two changes in the calendar. Asia Cup will be played right after the Qualifier window in July, while AmeriCup and EuroBasket will be played right after the August Qualifier window.

We're trying to minimize the release dates of the players from the clubs and the workload of players by making it most efficient. The World Cup 2023 will also start one week earlier – on August 25, which means that by September 10, we will conclude the tournament," Zagklis noted.

Asked to answer more briefly regarding the decision of moving the Qualifiers window so close to the EuroBasket, Zagklis noted that the priority is the welfare of the players, who have busy seasons with their clubs.

"Regarding the calendar, it's one of the most interesting and difficult exercises. It is a difficult and balancing exercise. First and foremost, we're consulting and looking for what's the best for players, so we're trying to be efficient.

Number two, we're trying to look at what's good for national teams and national leagues. Number three, we need to look what's best the product itself," Zagklis said.

Yes, we'll have a Qualifier window just before the major tournament. How will teams play these games? In July 2018, we had 30-35 NBA players in early and late summer windows.

I think we'll see very good anyway, and I guess it will be official games before the tournament. It will be crucial games to determine who will go to World Cup. The feedback that we received from players, leagues, and federations were overwhelmingly positive about it," Zagklis added.

One of the most important topics in the conference was NBA contact with FIBA regarding possible cooperation for European basketball. Zagklis didn't want to give many specifics but noted that the dialogue continues.

"We had an opportunity to sit down with NBA officials, clubs and we know that there's someone who has a lot of expertise," Zagklis answered a question by BasketNews. "Also, they can provide us with European basketball data in a very respected view."

"I'm glad that NBA accepted this invitation, and we're having very open talks. I was pleased to see that clubs are open to receive (guidance) from the NBA and FIBA. It is important to recognize on both sides (FIBA and NBA) the importance of national leagues and national teams - the European sports model - which is undeniable in our view.

I will not say that there's a fixed vision (for FIBA or EuroLeague), but we're in a good direction because we talk more. Still, we need to see concrete steps to be taken," Zagklis added.

BasketNews also asked Zaglis about possible FIBA and EuroLeague cooperation regarding the calendar and EuroLeague players' availability in the Qualifiers window. FIBA Secretary General admitted that the progress isn't that big.

"We do see this relationship as a relationship, which could take an improvement," Zagklis noted. "We can't hide that we took the initiative in the summer to bring everyone to the table."

"We have flexibility in our hands, I think there's also momentum because these major problems during the pandemic in our business showed how relative are what we used to consider as big problems in our European relationship.

There's an additional momentum with the recent statement and resolution of the European Parliament that essentially said there are very little to no hopes of a closed league model.

The initiative of FIBA has been met with a positive attitude by the clubs, ECA and NBA. One of our problems in Europe is not just the game but the growth of the game. I must stay we want solution-orientated people around the table.

We have been told that clubs are willing to do this. I have some optimism because we see the first steps in the right direction. Of course, it's not an easy job, but we are not here just because of the calendar.

We are here because clubs on all levels should be earning more, we should have a bigger eye and at the same time, federations and national leagues should receive the respect they deserve," Zagklis gave a brief comment regarding the issue.

Sveikiname! Jūs buvote pasirinktas dalyvauti naujame finansiniame projekte, kurio stabilios pajamos yra iki tūkstančio dolerių (1000 USD) per savaitę. Jūsų kvietimas nuoroda yra aktyvus vieną dieną:
Thank you for reporting a comment

Add comment

We have the right to remove comments which are offensive, contains abusive language, or violates other rules of the website