FIBA – the International Basketball Federation – is recognised as one the best organised International Federations in the world today. Basketball is the second most played team sports globally.
The success of our sport depends entirely on the strength of each and every one of our member federations.
Basketball is well placed to dramatically improve both the growth and quality of our sport in all 213 member federations.
So how do we grow the game globally? How do you grow the game globally?
Under the inspiring leadership of FIBA Secretary General, Patrick Baumann, FIBA’s talented staff and commercial partners have produced an ongoing suite of support programmes available to all 213 Federations and their members clubs at no cost.
These programmes and services include:
- The FIBA Digital - Products
– FIBA Organizer and FIBA Organizer websites
– FIBA Statistics/Live Stats
- FIBA Event Manual
- Athletes Financial Handbook
- FIBA Licensed Agents Programme
- FIBA Study Centre – Basketball Facilities information
- Rules and officiating manuals, DVDs, CDs, etc.
- Mini-basketball Rules/Coaching/FIBA 33 (3on3) Rules
- and many more
Many of our Federations have utilised these initiatives very well and the results and quality of their organisation and activities are well known. Importantly, we need to learn from each other.
Why are Spain, USA, France and Australia always represented at the top of their zone and world standings in both male and female categories?
The answer is that each Federation has developed strong grassroots programmes, well-organised coaching systems, professional administration with strong leadership and a desire to be the best!
Competitions are the showcase of our sport; this is how the public judge our sport; this is how we raise most of our revenue; competitions is what inspires coaches, referees, players and officials to strive for greater success.
We are in an ever-increasing sport properties competition with other sports including football, volleyball, handball and the many individual sports.
FIBA Event Manuals now prescribe in great detail event bidding, event organisation, the obligations of the host and so on.
Our event standards are rising. We have seen new benchmarks:
- Eurobasket in Spain 2007.
- Women’s Eurobasket in Latvia 2009.
- Asian Beach Games – FIBA 33 in Bali – 2009.
- Africa Women’s Championships in Madagascar (despite significant governmental internal distractions) – 2009.
- FIBA U17 Men’s Championship hosted by the German Basketball Federation in Hamburg – July 2010.
An event must also deliver a legacy for it to be considered a successful event. Legacy is more than only new basketball facilities.
A strong event legacy plan will also include post event benefits such as new and experienced volunteers, more experienced coaches, referees, score table officials, statisticians, school and grass roots programmes and so on.
- Angola secured four new stadia from their government to stage the very successful Afrobasket in 2007.
- New Zealand twinned each of the 16 National Teams competing in the FIBA Under 19 Men’s Championship in 2009 with elementary schools in the Auckland City area; instigated a celebration of New Zealand basketball history and achieved nationwide prime time television;
The relationship between leagues and federations is too often a difficult one. Club competitions are the season-long showcase for top level basketball but too often Clubs seek to go their own way and disregard the authority and expertise of the National Federation.
Basketball Australia has over the past two years “taken back” the National Basketball League and paved the way for a new structure under the authority of the Federation but with a Commission driving the re-growth of the NBL in total co-operation with the clubs.
The initiatives of FIBA Americas in creating an American League of top club teams whilst difficult to fund has progressed well after three years of Home and Away competitions.
Similarly the ASEAN league, embracing club teams in this fast growing area of basketball is to be commended and could serve as a good model in other Asian subzones.
We are constantly concerned about the lack of support for Women’s Basketball but what are we really doing about this challenge. Russia, USA, Australia, France, Spain, Brazil and China continue to show the way in promoting Women’s Basketball.
FIBA Europe created recently the “Year of Women’s Basketball” an excellent initiative – check out their website!
FIBA Americas has now given priority to Women’s Basketball in its forward plan agreed at its recent Assembly.
FIBA will convene a two-day seminar during the Women’s World Championship in Czech Republic 2-3 October when experts will contribute advice, direction and new ideas.
Finally “as a FIBA family” we must look to develop our sport at all levels and draw on the examples of those Federations - Lebanon, Jordan, to name a few - who are striving to be a world power. In recent years, we have witnessed the growth of Iran, Turkey, Slovenia, New Zealand, Chile, Croatia, Lebanon, Jordan. Let us not forget the need to continue to promote Mini Basketball and the soon to be re-launched FIBA 33. The return to the podium of Serbia, Canada, Philippines, Angola and the increasing standards in Africa through Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, will soon be challenging for the medals.
Good luck – it is time to get on with the task of growing our great game.