Welcome to the FIBA World Congress 2010!
It has been four years since we met in Japan, on the occasion of a World Championship that has brought much enjoyment and has crowned Spain as the new World Champion.
In a few days we will crown a world champion in this fantastic country, which has been a perfect host to us. I take this opportunity to thank the Turkish Basketball Federation for its hospitality and for the organization of the Congress, the World Championship and the Children of the World Camp.
The 2002-2006 cycle saw many changes in FIBA, on and off the court: a new brand, a new home for FIBA in Switzerland, a growing FIBA Europe in Munich, a new World Champion and a new Olympic Champion.
The 2006 – 2010 cycle has not been any less exciting:
In 2007 we celebrated the 75th anniversary of FIBA and held successful events such as Afrobasket in Angola and EuroBasket in Spain, both fully supported by their respective national governments. While maybe in Spain one would not expect less, the Angolan experience was very encouraging for the African Continent. The professional level of the organization, the nationwide promotion around the event, the state support and investment in the required infrastructure, all have been astonishing. No doubt, Angola could well host a world event in the future. In 2007 we also opened the FIBA Hall of Fame with its first induction ceremony.
In 2008, we took a historic decision to change the rules of the game and the layout of the court (applicable as of 2010-2012). As a consequence, basketball courts will look alike around the whole globe. The first pre-Olympic tournament since 1992 was held successfully in Athens, providing the Olympic Games in Beijing with an even stronger field of teams.
World record-breaking audiences for basketball and a historic Men’s Final between USA and Spain rounded off the Olympic Year. In 2008 we also bought a property in Mies, just 10 minutes outside Geneva where we will build our new headquarters, your home.
In 2009 China, Italy and Spain competed intensely to win the right to host the 2014 Men’s World Championship. Eventually Spain presented the best bid out of the three and deservedly beat Italy on the buzzer in the last round of voting. Never has there been such a strong effort from national federations and such government commitment to lobby for and obtain the FIBA World Championship. The new business model enshrined in the 2014 Event Manual approaches the relationship with the Organizers as a Joint Venture, rather than awarding the event and receiving Hosting fees, and marks a new and important progress in the business maturity of FIBA and of its strongest national federations. Apart from this, we also held successfully the U19 World Championships in Thailand and New Zealand in 2009 and thank the hosting countries for their efforts.
This year, in 2010, the first U17 World Championships have been hosted successfully in Germany (boys) and France (girls), proving that basketball players in that age category are already well developed and hungry for international competition. I would like to thank both the German and the French Federations for their support and for their courage in hosting this new event. At the same time, and only a few days ago, the Youth Olympic Games have seen the new discipline 3 – 3 being introduced for the first time in an official competition.
These are only a few of the highlights that we have witnessed over the past four years. More action has taken place in FIBA and this special FIBA Assist edition will give you more information. At the same time, we have set up booths outside the Congress room where you can discuss and exchange with the FIBA staff and other experts on many of the activities that FIBA has developed for your benefit. These include inter alia: FIBA Digital, Services to National Federations, Relations with other sport organizations, Player Education, Player Status, International Wheelchair Basketball Federation, Rules of the Game and Study Centre.
“FIBA governs basketball worldwide, making the rules and keeping the sport in line. We make sure basketball is challenging, exciting and fascinating for everyone. FIBA is basketball”. This is FIBA’s mission.
At the Congress in Japan in 2006, we presented our strategic planning. The development of the sport of basketball is FIBA’s “raison d’etre” and our long-term objectives are geared towards this aim and show a broad range of interests and activities. These are grouped into five inter-dependent fields of activities (the Sport of Basketball, the Audience, Development, Internal Processes and Financials) linked with 12 key objectives. We have consistently implemented the planned actions for most of these objectives. Some remain still valid, some have been achieved, and a few need to be reviewed or scrapped altogether. I would like to concentrate on a few of them:
Their progress and well-being are essential to the development of basketball. A key objective remains to improve their organization and to have them participate in FIBA’s activities at both World and continental level. This is not yet the case. Over 110 Olympic Solidarity clinics have been held in as many countries during the past Olympic cycle. Basketball without Borders has seen the participation of youngsters from more than 100 countries and from all 5 continents. The qualifications to the World Championship have been played by almost 130 countries. Also over 100 countries have registered for the Children of the World Camp organized by the Turkish Basketball Federation (at no cost to the federations) and, by the time this report is written, 135 countries will have registered for the World Congress. It is obvious that a lot is being done, but there remain a number of federations whose participation in the international basketball family life is minimal. This needs to change and we need to find the appropriate resources whether human, financial or material to assist them.
We have progressively assisted and developed the Zone structures over the past 8 years and it is now time to move a step further and to concentrate our efforts, together with the Zones, on the individual member federations.
They are the most important tool to promote basketball, to develop new generations of talents and to generate revenues.
With the added U17 World Championships and the close relationship with FISU we have created an excellent path for youngsters to move from the age of 15 -16 to the top senior level. Mini-basketball remains an important age for FIBA’s future and will need to be re-affirmed and protected.
At the same time, national teams need to be more visible during the year. National federations and their supporters are hungry to see their stars playing international competitions at home. While this is challenging at many levels, FIBA and its members need to take a courageous approach towards the competition calendar for the future if we want to achieve greater value for the efforts that the basketball family invests in our sport every day. We will continue to seek pro-actively the increase in teams for the Olympic Games from 12 to 16 and will also work to increase the World Championship Senior Men to 32. At the same time we hope to be able to better address the needs of women’s basketball.
In this environment, the relationship between clubs and national teams remains a challenge but also an opportunity for progress through better co-operation and aligned interests. A World Club Championship remains a target that we would like to reach.
Nothing moves without the financial means. FIBA has been growing in awareness and revenues over the past 4 years.
- FIBA operated at around 17 mio CHF per year on average (except for the World Championship year 2010).
- FIBA will generate around 130 mio CHF for the whole cycle, an increase of about 50% compared to the previous cycle.
- During the same period, FIBA distributed 44 mio CHF to the FIBA Zones, compared to the 27 mio in the cycle 2003-2006. This is also 20% more than what was budgeted and committed in 2007.
- FIBA generated close to 10 mio in net profits over the past 4 years, which increases FIBA’s equity to close to 20 mio CHF.
- At the same time, Zones have increased their net assets significantly. As an example, Europe receive close to 30 mio from commercial revenues generated by FIBA and generates further revenues on its own.
After careful examination of our activities and with the assistance of external consultants it is clear that FIBA finds itself in a good position with strong upside potential, but it is not yet realizing its full potential when compared to other sports. The consultants’ report was submitted to the Central Board, which approved its conclusions earlier this year.
They identified three success factor to fulfil our potential: Alignment, Focus and Investment. Alignment essentially means that the FIBA family at all levels, as well as in and with the administration, needs to work hand in hand and understand the implications of the various decisions that we take daily across all fields of activity. Focus means that we need to better use our scarce resources before spreading them too thinly across a multitude of tasks and to ensure that the top properties achieve top revenues. Investment means that we need essentially to invest more aggressively in key areas (see below) and be more patient in terms of timelines with the return on investments.
In conclusion, according to the analysts, FIBA should be able to double its revenues over the next 10 years despite the gloomy economy. In turn this would mean that we can re-distribute more to the family through the Zones and possibly make direct financial contributions to the federations that participate in official competitions. The budget 2011-2014 implements these conclusions.
Good governance protects our autonomy, gives us credibility and guarantees a sustainable growth for our activities. Doping, Betting and Governance are three areas where FIBA and its members need to be particularly careful. A special panel during the Congress will deal with these items.
Our track-record in doping is “positive” and basketball does not seem to have a major problem with doping. Only 48 adverse analytical findings were recorded in the past cycle. We have regular and professional doping controls at all official competitions as well as a lean and costefficient result management system. However, we are still inexperienced in the implementation of the WADA Code, inaccurate in the delivery of whereabouts, uncoordinated in prevention campaigns and reluctant – for cost reasons - to set up out-of competition testing programs. Over the past four years FIBA has signed up to the revised WADA Code and constantly informs national federations about their duties in this regard. While it is a costly administrative operation, we have to cooperate and can do better.
In many countries we face interference from public authorities due to bad governance. In some countries two basketball federations fight for supremacy, in others improper use of (government) funds or wrongdoings in the electoral processes trigger reactions from ministries or National Olympic Committees. Unfortunately, FIBA has had to get involved in more than 10 conflicts in the past 4 years and it is likely that many more conflicts occurred at a local level without ever reaching our desks.
Good governance is essential to protect our autonomy and to generate revenues. FIBA will therefore invest more efforts in accompanying the member federations, also through the new membership commission in their work for proper statutes, regulations and management processes. The creation of the FIBA Academy, an on-line educational tool based on the national federation manual, is another concrete example of assistance. The independent Basketball Arbitral Tribunal (former FAT) is also an example that was successfully established in 2007 to ensure proper governance at club level. It is a voluntary jurisdiction established to ensure financial stability in the basketball world. It consistently applies principles of justice, fairness and contractual stability. It has already successfully dealt with over 100 cases.
Betting is probably one of the oldest “sports” in history and will thus never be banned. So far, it has not been a serious problem in basketball, but the use of modern technology and the liberalization of the gambling markets have significantly increased the number of operators acting in the market. In this open market context, the client (who pays) dictates what he wants to bet on and this creates problems (spreadbetting, parlays etc.). Furthermore, it is well known through police research that criminal organizations are heavily involved in the betting industry. It is therefore important to be aware of the problems, to monitor the competitions and to educate players, officials and entourage on the risks. At the same time, if properly controlled and ethically managed, the legal betting industry favours the uncertainty of the results and, whether public or corporate, will increasingly become a leading provider of important revenues to sport. Bwin is in this sense a welcome partner to FIBA and will provide you with their point of view during the Panel session.
Priorities for the future
When reviewing FIBA’s strategy it became obvious for the Central Board that over the next years major investments will need to be done in three areas: sport, events and promotion.
In the sport area, FIBA shall dedicate more direct attention, together with the Zones, to those national federations that work well and have a potential to reach the top 24 teams at the World Championship, in order to increase it to 32 as rapidly as possible. We reckon that, under this scheme, about 25 countries will be targeted specifically over the next 4 to 8 years. At the same time, we shall review the competition system in order to ensure the presence of national teams on home soil.
In the events area, we shall invest important resources in order to ensure the success of our main events not only on the court, but also off the court, and ensure a long-lasting, sustainable legacy for the hosting countries. The 2014 World Championship will be a particular milestone to this effect.
In the promotion area, we shall significantly invest to increase our presence and profile in the media. At the same time we should perform much better in the area of branding, licensing and merchandising.
And, finally, we shall launch the 3 on 3 basketball movement.
FIBA 33 (working title) was played officially at the Youth Olympic Games. However, its attractiveness reaches far beyond these Games. It is essentially an optimal tool that links grassroots programs around the world and gives a home under FIBA (in line with our Statutory objectives) to a universe which has been on the margin of our activities. We will unite all its participants, provide them with a simple but attractive and self-sustaining competition system and worldwide ranking, ensure a drastic increase of membership for all national federations and, ultimately, create a “tsunami” of passionate basketball fans and players. From your kids’ neighbourhood tournament to a world series of professional athletes that runs through all continents, we have a unique chance to create a new discipline while keeping its inherent social and cultural values.
It may be a dream, but a basketball in every house, garden, school, city square or beach makes the impossible possible, with your help. This is why the theme of this Congress is: EXTEND OUR REACH ………and, may I add, conquer the world.
The basketball family has worked very well over the past four years. I hope this Congress and all the surrounding activities and the supporting documents will allow you to judge by yourself the progress we have all made. On behalf of the Secretariat and of myself, I thank you for the support we have received from all of you, from the President and from the Central Board over the past 4 years.
I wish you a pleasant stay in Istanbul.
We are basketball.