In this interview, Mr Muratore reflected on his presidency so far; discussed the continuing growth of the 3x3 discipline; provided an update on the work carried out and still to come in implementing FIBA's new competition system for 2017; and looked back, 12 months on, on ONE FIBA.
FIBA: What are your general thoughts as you look back on your FIBA presidency to date?
Muratore: A little over a year has gone by since I was elected FIBA President at the FIBA World Congress in Seville. That day was one of huge satisfaction, both professionally and personally but also from the perspective of Argentina's Basketball Confederation, who put my name forward in the elections. I believe I have gone through all the logical steps that resulted in me becoming FIBA President. I get asked how I became President and I think it is because I've met the expectations that people have of me. I've felt very good in my time as FIBA President so far. I am very happy and have the full support of everyone. It's a source of great pride to be the first Latin American person to serve as FIBA President. The fact that I was chosen unanimously makes me have that much more respect for everyone.
FIBA: With two years to go before the new competition system comes into full effect, how is work progressing on the entire necessary infrastructure?
Muratore: It is a long process but through this new system, we will be giving equal opportunities to everyone. We need over 100 national federations to get the new competition system underway. The fact that games will be played in a home and away format will enable us to increase the presence of our sport in each and every country that is implementing the system. It will bring great opportunities for all national federations and will allow fans to see their favourite teams in a venue near them. If each federation works well and gets the most out of what the new competition system offers them, there is a lot for them to gain, including being able to support themselves during this process. The insurance costs of players will be covered by FIBA so there will be an important support for the national federations.
The new competition system will bring great opportunities for all national federations and will allow fans to see their favourite teams in a venue near them. - Muratore
Muratore: Yes we started working on it this year, by having meetings and workshops with national federations and holding press conferences during the continental championships. We are also in the process of finalising the relevant regulations and guidelines concerning the qualifiers that will be played for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. We compiled all the necessary data related to the event organisation capabilities of the national federations and began work on the development of digital platforms to be used for educational and competition management purposes, a task that will be completed next year.
In 2016, FIBA will hold workshops with Regional Offices and national federations, while also moving forward with the selection and education processes of technical delegates, of an elite group of referees and of statisticians. We will also begin registering venues.
We are naturally looking at ways to have a competition system that is as beneficial to the women’s game as the one devised for the men. Thought has been given that we could use the same system as the men’s but it is too early to tell as we have only started working on it recently.
FIBA: It's been almost a year now since the implementation of ONE FIBA. As you look back on it, what has pleased you the most in this regard?
Muratore: The quickness with which everyone adapted to ONE FIBA has to be the most satisfying aspect. Our zones became Regional Offices that depend directly from FIBA and all our staff across the world continue to work under FIBA's guidelines. A number of departments - Communications, IT and Finance - have become unified, while others - Sport & Competitions along with National Federations & Sport - are working jointly and report to the Executive Director in order to help develop basketball in their zone. The objective is to help develop basketball in every country. This is all in line with the strategy of FIBA's Central Board and Executive Committee as it applies in regards to the development of basketball in each region. The implementation is carried out by the staff at the regional offices. I think we are doing everything that our national federations have asked us to do in approving this project.
Muratore: We created two Working Groups, A and B, in order to be closer to our National Federations. We have divided them in accordance to their growth potential which can be significant, moderate or limited. I am the Chairman of Group A as I have always been interested in and worked in the development of basketball. Meanwhile, FIBA’s Foundation works with national federations that have limited growth potential, under the leadership of its President, Yvan Mainini.
We have recently begun a large-scale assessment of our members. Between September 2015 and the end of December 2016, FIBA is visiting most of its 215 National Federations. Following the visits, reports will be filed and tailor-made strategies proposed. After agreeing on a strategy to be implemented in the given country/territory, we will assist the national federations in implementing these and follow up on a regular basis. As well as collaborating with the Regional Offices, the work entails working together with FIBA’s Sport & Competitions Department (who, as part of the implementation of the new competition system, can assist in the short-term development of a national federation) and the FIBA Foundation.
We consider that there are 30 top level national federations who do not need our help to maximise their growth potential in this way for the time being but we will assist them on other matters in the future.
We are very happy to be more inclusive and collaborative in order to further basketball’s growth and help our sport achieve its full potential - as long as this is done in accordance with the new FIBA Statutes. - Muratore
FIBA: Can you talk about how FIBA has become more open and inclusive in welcoming and assisting more stakeholders in the basketball family.
Muratore: Through actions such as electing an NBA representative to the Executive Committee, creating the Players' Commission and further integrating European clubs and leagues within the FIBA Family, we have shown that we are very happy to be more inclusive and collaborative in order to further basketball’s growth and help our sport achieve its full potential - as long as this is done in accordance with the new FIBA Statutes.
The conditions and timing were right to integrate a person from the NBA into the Executive Committee so we are very pleased with the election of Mark Tatum to FIBA’s highest decision-making body.
The Players’ Commission has had a positive impact as all its members have a common vision in mind and that is basketball’s development. We want them all to be ambassadors of our sports. I was really happy and privileged to sit in on the first meeting of the commission, to see how motivated all the members were and the free-flowing exchange of ideas and discussions that took place.
We passed historical measures with the decision that European clubs and leagues representatives are to have dedicated seats within the Board of FIBA Europe and the establishment of a Professional Basketball Council (PBC) as an official body of FIBA.
We are currently awaiting the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s decision about whether or not 3x3 will be included in the sports programme at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. - Muratore
FIBA: Finally, can you provide us with an update on 3x3?
Muratore: We are extremely happy with the current state of 3x3 because more and more national federations are adopting the discipline. It is constantly growing. We've had so many events on the World Tour but also at regional as well as national levels. We are currently awaiting the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s decision about whether or not 3x3 will be included in the sports programme at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 3x3 provides opportunities to smaller federations - such as Andorra, Belize, Guatemala to mention a few - to compete at a world level. We know that 3x3 made a good impression at the 2010 and 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and Nanjing respectively. We are hopeful and confident that we will get a positive answer from the IOC that 3x3 is to be a part of the Olympic programme and that we can then start preparing teams for Tokyo 2020.