The 2021 session of the FIBA Europe General Assembly convened in Sarajevo on Saturday under a hybrid meeting format, with approximately two-thirds of the delegates attending in person in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest participating via videoconference.
The organizers upheld a rigorous testing routine and strict health measures in order to make possible the physical presence of delegates after two years, as the 2020 session was only held virtually.
The annual Assembly, which brings together the European member federations of FIBA, was chaired by FIBA Europe President Turgay Demirel, with FIBA President Hamane Niang, FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis, FIBA Executive Director Europe/FIBA Europe Secretary Europe Kamil Novak and members of the FIBA Europe Board in attendance.
Mr. Demirel opened proceedings by welcoming and congratulating the newly elected presidents and secretary generals of the National Federations of Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Montenegro and Romania. He then proceeded to recap the decisions and innovative actions that FIBA Europe undertook in order to circumvent the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and to secure the organization of so many competitions during the course of the past year, while placing the health and safety of all athletes and members as the top priority.
"Working in solidarity with all our stakeholders, as FIBA Europe and FIBA, I believe that we demonstrated strong team spirit by working together. We listened to each other and found ways to compromise for the same goals and objectives, which is to protect our sport and all its members. We worked hard to come out stronger post-COVID," Mr. Demirel said.
Mr. Niang echoed the importance of the basketball family's response to the challenges posed by COVID-19, and underlined the importance of the principles of unity and solidarity, which he said were fundamental in the way FIBA addressed the pandemic.
"The successful summer of the Olympic Games, of the Women's EuroBasket and of the 29 Youth Challengers in Europe is the perfect platform to relaunch our sport this season and enter the year 2022 with a lot of momentum. I know that the continent I come from, Africa, was the only one that played both the Men's and the Women's AfroBasket this year. But I also know very well how much we all wait for the EuroBasket 2022," Mr. Niang said.
Mr. Zagklis also stressed the importance of finding innovative workarounds in order to restore competitive basketball, adding that the world of sport took notice and praised basketball's efforts.
"We're very proud for the work done by the European office. This Assembly and the Board supported well the national federations during the pandemic. The health protocol was developed quickly, there were many webinars, new products, a fast reaction to the pandemic. One year later we can say that many things were correct. The amount of competitions delivered and the quality was tremendous,"Mr. Zagklis said.
"Basketball was the only sport to play qualifiers in all continents.I was pleased to hear praise about the great basketball output at the Tokyo Olympics this year, and that is a testament to the work done at all levels. Now we need to be ready to shift to the next gear, following our strategy, by first empowering the national federations. We need to continue improving our credibility. We need to improve the service to our leagues, clubs and players," the FIBA Secretary General added.
Mr. Novak then presented the Board with a report on the current state of affairs in European basketball, offering an update on the ever-increasing FIBA Europe development activities. These include the highly successful TIME-OUT 2.0, Icoach kids and Entrepreneur projects, all of which are co-funded by the European Commission's Erasmus+ scheme.
There was a special focus on the initiatives that seek to promote the role of women in basketball, such as the inaugural FIBA European Women's Basketball Summit and the latest in projects that include the Mentoring Program for Female Coaches and Referees.
The report also presented facts and figures relevant to the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2021, the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers and subsequent draw. It then shifted to data from last summer's Youth European Challengers and European Championships for Small Countries, an overview of the various 3x3 competitions and the ongoing developments in the new seasons of all FIBA Europe club competitions.
The delegates then heard about the impact of COVID-19 on European basketball and the Road Map created by FIBA Europe to tackle the issue and keep the sport running at all levels, before examining the reports on the activities of all commissions for 2021.
Mr. Karl Thaller presented the Finance Commission report, Mr. Wolfgang Brenscheidt delivered the Competitions' Commission report and Mr. Georgi Glushkov did likewise with the report of the Technical Commission.
Mrs. Nastassia Marynina presented the Women's Commission report, Mr. Matej Erjavec delivered the report of the Youth Commission and Mr. Bernard O'Byrne presented the report of the Small Countries Commission.
The round of reports concluded with Walter Pfaller's presentation, on behalf of IWBF Europe and Monika Puchner's FIBA Europe Properties report.
The 2022 session of the FIBA Europe General Assembly will take place on May 21, 2022 in Vilnius, with the 2023 session set to take place in Munich.
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