MIES - FIBA President Horacio Muratore expressed his pleasure and satisfaction with the way in which the first-ever FIBA Mid-Term Congress unfolded.
The two-day event brought together delegates from 146 National Member Federation in Hong Kong on May 4-5 and served as a platform to outline where FIBA stands midway through the 2014-2019 term of office.
The 2014-2019 term of office is a defining moment in time when we are doing everything in our power to strengthen all of our National Member FederationsMuratore
What are your thoughts as you look back on the first FIBA Mid-Term Congress?
Following the Mid-Term Congress, we are definitely a lot closer to our National Member Federations and stand as a more united basketball family. We are ready to carry on this work until 2019 and look forward to the next two years, especially with the launch of the New Competition System, the Road to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China, both of which present great opportunities for our members.
Of course we cannot forget women's basketball. That is why we are in the process of looking at ways to create and implement a competition system that is as beneficial to the women's game as the one devised for the men. This is a key project that we will focus on over the next two years.
What is the message you conveyed to all the delegates present in Hong Kong?
We made sure everyone understands that the 2014-2019 term of office is a defining moment in time, one in which FIBA is doing everything in its power to strengthen all our National Member Federations.
Through all of the work we have done and are doing across the four pillars that make up FIBA's strategic plan, we have approached everything from the perspective of serving the best interests of our stakeholders.
The national team is the best product in sport so the New Competition System represents everything that will help basketball grow all over the world.Muratore
Can you update us on where things stand on FIBA's four pillars? Let's begin with the one that is particularly close to your heart, National Federations Support and Development.
In the almost three years since, we have worked closely to help our National Federations in a number of ways. This is crucial in order for them to then be better able to develop and grow our sport in their respective countries and territories.
We currently have approximately 30 top level National Federations accustomed to playing at FIBA events on a regular basis and who, therefore, do not need our help to maximise their growth potential. We will however assist them on other matters in the future.
On the other hand, the next 180 National Federations have undergone a large scale assessment which took place with visits between September 2015 and April 2017, underlining the fact that supporting and developing our National Federations is a core mission and value of FIBA. Following every visit, a report is filed and tailor-made strategies are prepared. After agreeing on a path to be implemented, we assist the National Federation in putting in place the necessary steps and follow up on a regular basis. These programs address not only the sport itself but also matters such as governance, coaching, refereeing, administration, equipment, venues, promotion and wider commercial opportunities.
FIBA is also developing more tangible materials to help the development of the game, with tools such as the Coaches Manual.
The launch of the New Competition System is a step closer following the draw ceremony for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers. What is foremost in your thoughts about the new system and what it will do for the sport?
It truly marks the beginning of a new era for basketball. The national team is the best product in sport so this change represents everything that will help basketball grow all over the world.
2017 is an important year for 3x3. How are things progressing with FIBA's urban discipline
3x3 provides opportunities to a number of our smaller National Federations and others in order to start having a presence in our game. 3x3 is gaining momentum each and every year, with more and more National Federations adopting it. It is growing constantly.
We keep pushing 3x3 and want it to reach its full potential. Our next objective is to receive a positive decision from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this summer and have the discipline be included in the Olympic basketball program at the Tokyo 2020 Games. We are optimistic in light of the fact that 3x3 made a good impression at the 2010 and 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
The change to a new governance model has led to having more of basketball's stakeholders get involved with FIBA. In what areas has that been particularly beneficial?
The new governance model means that we can build new strategies, open new routes and enable institutional cooperation. As such, we need to work closely with our National Member Federations and make sure they understand the need to adapt to the current basketball and FIBA reality.
Since the last FIBA Congress, we have incorporated the NBA in our Central Board and Executive Committee by having NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum serve as its representative. It is also a great privilege - and one that has been a long time coming - to have a player representative on FIBA's Central Board. With these additions, both the players and the biggest basketball league in the world are given the opportunity to work closely with FIBA and raise issues that affect them.
Additionally, initiatives such as establishing a Players' Commission, the creation and successful launch of the Basketball Champions League - which is central in our goal of supporting and integrating European leagues within our family - clearly indicate our willingness to become more inclusive and collaborative in order to further basketball's growth and help it achieve its full potential.