On 16th January, 2010 FIBA Europe and many representatives of its member federations met in Freising, Germany near Munich for the EuroBasket and EuroBasket Women 2011 Qualifying Round draws as well as the draw for the 2010 Youth Competitions.
On the occasion FIBA Europe President George Vassilakopoulos spoke to those on hand.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends.
This is the last draw that I will attend as President of FIBA Europe. Be reassured, I do not intend to make a long reference to my years in the post, but will reserve that for our General Assembly in May.
However I cannot refrain from expressing my pleasure and pride for what FIBA Europe has become today, but also my certainty that its future will be even better.
The present draw is an excellent opportunity to portray the current situation of FIBA Europe.
Last year we organized two very successful EuroBaskets for senior men and women.
We still have important club competitions, organized either by us or on our behalf, with the clear recognition that FIBA Europe is the supreme authority for all European basketball.
And, in addition to this, we can proudly say that we have ensured our future both financially (the recent inauguration of our new offices in Munich is the best proof), but also, more importantly, in the sports field.
Indeed we have today established and consolidated an impressive youth development programme, with the regular, yearly participation of practically all of our national federations in it.
The great interest in these competitions is shown by your presence here today. Out of a total of 51 national federations that compose FIBA Europe, 34 are represented at this draw.
So besides their obvious sports impact, these official youth competitions have greatly contributed to bringing closer our national federations, helping them to know better each other and to create stronger ties.
I can say that today we no longer have distinct Eastern and Western Federations as in the past. Today we have European Federations, of course with important differences at the sports of financial level, but with, more and more, the same mentality, the same approach to the principals and values of our sport!
To close my comments today, I would like to point out that as of the first of December of last year the new treaty on the European Union has entered into force. This treaty contains specific reference to sport, that I do hope, will allow the sports movement to finally obtain, after many years of efforts, the official recognition of the specificity of sport, and the special link between sport and society.
And I think it is useful to remind everyone that in these efforts FIBA Europe has always had a pioneering and decisive role.
Thank you for your attention, and I wish to all of you good luck with the draw and your particular objectives.