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01 Января 2007 Журнал "FIBA Assist Magazine"

Виды спорта: Баскетбол

Рубрики: Профессиональный спорт

Автор: Bueno Chus

The Spanish Basketball Players Association

The Spanish Basketball Players Association

The Spanish Basketball Players Association

Chus Bueno is the Secretary General of the Spanish Basketball Players Association (ABP) and Vice President of the European Basketball Players Association (UBE).

We have come a long way since our founding in 1986 when a group of motivated players resolved to create an association to protect and defend their collective interests. The first years were characterized by a hard fight for a recognition from the clubs until the signing of a collective bargaining agreement in 1989. Today, we can proudly say that the ABP, the Spanish Basketball Players Association, is more than just a union with collective legal objectives, but a union that offers services that benefit the players and the sport as a whole.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT

The last collective bargaining agreement, negotiated in 1993, regulates many aspects of the professional relationship between the players and the clubs. This agreement provides the players with a minimum salary according to their age, regulates vacation time, includes a disciplinary agreement, and a salary guarantee fund. This has made the Spanish league one of the most professional and respected leagues in the world and, as a result, players are eager to come to Spain to play.

The collective bargaining agreement also regulates the collective image rights of the players. The ABP owns the image rights of the players, because they are granted to the ABP when they apply for membership. The ABP, in turn, grants these rights to the ACB, the Spanish Division One League, in return for compensation. This is one of the association's most important sources of funding. Additional funding is attained through agreements with the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB), the CSD (an important governmental department in Spain), and activities with sponsors and partners (including “Agrupacion Mutua”). This all makes it possible to employ a group of seven professionals dedicated full time to the ABP and its projects, as well as allowing the hiring of additional consultants to assist in camps and other events. For more information on our organization, and to see a copy of our collective bargaining agreement in Spanish or English, please go to www.abp.es.

MEMBER SERVICE

Aside from the traditional collective representation, the ABP has also developed a series of important services for our members that improve their quality of life during their playing years and prepares them for life "after basketball."

A very important service we provide is in the area of continuing education and job placement. We have cooperation agreements with several Spanish universities (UOC, Catalunya University, UB Barcelona University, European University of Madrid, and Johan Cruyff University), which allow players to study for a certain number of careers and postgraduate degrees. ABP members receive a 60% ABP-UOC scholarship and work with special teachers, who understand their specific life situations. Professional athletes are used to working in a highly competitive environment and have developed skills in the areas of working as a team, leadership, motivation, and under pressure that, combined with a formal education, give them great potential to contribute to future employers after their basketball playing days are over. Agreements with job placement companies (Adecco and the "relevo" program, and Bankinter) help the players with their transition from professional basketball.

During the summer months, the ABP offers financial seminars and skills camps for players, while they are on vacation.

The financial seminars last one week and instruct the players on making investments and how to protect their savings. They are led by professionals from different financial companies, who hold lectures for the players and their families in order to increase awareness about the many risks and considerations that must be taken into account when investing their money. Over 160 players have participated in the seminars over the last eight years.

The skills camps are two-week basketball programs for professionals and younger players who might soon become professional. The camp sessions help players improve their skills without the pressure of competition or results. At no cost to the players, the ABP provides the hotel, coaches, and teachers.

With the FEB, we are currently working on a program of short conferences and seminars for players in the younger national team categories that will emphasize the values of humility, generosity, and teamwork. These values are critical to their further development if they are to succeed in a professional basketball career. We believe that if we enable to players to improve their basketball and life skills it will be positive for them as people and for the game of basketball.

The ABP has also made various commercial agreements with hotels (NH Hotels), travel agencies, rental cars (Hertz), sports brands to provide shoes and clothing (Converse), and private medical insurance (Sanitas).

In addition, the ABP participates with all other national athlete associations in the "Mutualidad de Deportistas Profesionales," a national pension plan specifically for professional athletes that was established in cooperation with the Spanish government. Controlled by the athletes' organizations, each athlete may contribute annually up to 24,250 euros to the plan, which, in turn, may be deducted from their current year taxes. When withdrawn after retirement, the contributions will be taxed at a much lower rate, resulting in a savings of up to 40% under current tax law.

THE ABP IN EUROPE

On the European level, we are already preparing with the UBE (European Basketball Players Association) for a "made in Europe" program for the summer of 2007. The concept behind the camp- which will be realized with the cooperation of players associations from France, Italy, Germany, Greece, and Israel-is to bring promising young players together to work in a camp with our professional players as teachers and mentors. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the generations of players and encourage the exchange of experiences and information, hopefully creating meaningful personal relationships between experienced and younger players.

In addition, under UBE auspices, we plan to contribute to the organization of a basketball game in Israel with players from all the UBE member associations. A special group of players from Israel and Palestine will play in a game that will be called "We play for peace."

FUTURE PROJECTS

We believe that it is the duty of the players and their association to give back to society. Basketball has a great capacity to aid integration in marginal areas of the country. Therefore, the ABP is preparing a business plan for ex-players, who wish to work with us and start basketball schools in towns that may benefit from sports as an integration model. We are establishing the first two schools in 2007.

In order to further aid athletes in their transition to the working world, the ABP created Cemp (Enterprises Teams Coaches) in 2006 as a consulting division. After participating in an educational program (160 hours) at the UB Barcelona, players will work as professional consultants for corporations, transmitting the values of leadership, motivation, and teamwork that they have learned during their careers as professional athletes.

I would take this opportunity to say that the ABP and UBE have a great interest in working with FIBA developing ideas to aid the development of the sport of basketball. We believe that we are all members of the basketball family and we should work together. We offer our willingness and assistance to participate in any projects that might be proposed to benefit this great sport of ours. We Are all Basketball.

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