Andreas Zagklis: “Strategic synergy is the future”

By Aris Barkas/ [email protected]

The FIBA secretary-general Andreas Zagklis spoke to the Greek sports show “Pick and Roll” of COSMOTE TV for the power of unity, stressing that FIBA is here for everyone, without dividing the world of basketball.

As he explained,  the pandemic has put any kind of differences in another context and he acknowledged that there is momentum in discussions with the EuroLeague and the NBA as stakeholders for the development of basketball in Europe.

Speaking about the pandemic and FIBA’s timely reaction, Zagklis said: “I think, and we are slowly starting to see that, that the members of the basketball family also came closer to each other. We understood that problems of the past are relativized in a pandemic. Clearly, unity is part of our work in FIBA. We are not a body that only has a regulatory role, that makes the rules, that only organize the World Cup and big competitions. We are the body that aims to promote the sport and its development. For further development, strength in unity obviously applies, there is no doubt, and even more in times of crisis. Seeing at the same time that the fact that the union of the FIBA ​​Family made the organization stronger, there is no doubt for me that through partnerships the pie will grow and this will automatically benefit both our clubs and the National Leagues, as well as the National teams”.

Without giving any specific details about the nature of the talks with the EuroLeague and the NBA, Zagklis clearly implied that FIBA would like to have a joint strategy with them for the good of the sport in Europe: “I think that in earlier stages of this relationship, we have overexposed, not only to our audience, whom we have an obligation to inform but more generally. e have overexposed the discussions the disagreements, the objections the arguments/counter-arguments. Without being secretive at all, I believe that the meetings that take place, should take place and should be undertaken in an environment where everyone puts their future strategy on the table and we must see with others where they can go. We have a strategic partnership with the NBA (always in the reports of the FIBA ​​general assembly I refer to the NBA and the IOC as two strategic partners of FIBA, because with the IOC we have a very given strategic coexistence for the Olympic Games and the position of basketball there). And with the NBA we have a strategic partnership to grow the sport worldwide. As I said from the beginning, we need to understand where our teams are going, the clubs, a very important group of European teams, and try to converge the strategies. This is the future. There is no doubt that strategic synergy is the future. Because as I told you, only through unity the pie of the market grows, speaking in commercial terms, but there is no doubt that through this coexistence we will be able to have some things, which are things of common sense regarding the calendar. I do not want to comment on the scenarios. FIBA made a statement that is very clear. I think that the discussions that take place, take place in a good atmosphere and beyond that, it is a matter of moving them forward in this good atmosphere and finding solutions. I do not think that scenarios development is good, neither for our fans nor for our Federations”.

And to be even more precise, he added about the relationship with the EuroLeague: “I think the teams know very well what each of them is looking for. And they know very well that FIBA is always there for them. I do not have any problem, as I have said to them on a private level, to say it publicly: FIBA is here for everyone. For us, it must be evident, regardless of whether we fight for the self-evident… So I do not mind fighting too much for it. I see a wonderful sympathy between the Federations, I see ever-increasing cooperation of the Federations with the Leagues, which makes me very happy, and at the same time, I see a much better degree of communication between the clubs, whether they play in the Euroleague or elsewhere, with their Federations. Being very close to the new start of the national teams’ games for the Qualifications and the new round of the World Cup, this is essential for us”.

Meanwhile, FIBA remains committed to the Basketball Champions League, which according to Zagklis is constantly gaining ground: “Every year more teams understand that this event is to develop the teams, but also the national leagues. We have this as a basic principle. That the road to the BCL passes through the recognition in the National League”.

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