|12 July 2006|
It is only fitting that during the Year of Women’s Basketball, the Luxembourg Basketball Federation has elected women as both President and Secretary General.
FIBA Europe Board Member Marion Grethen was unanimously elected as President of the Luxembourg Basketball Federation last month following the resignation of former President Romain Haas, who will continue to serve on the Board.
The female trend in the Luxembourg Basketball Federation continued with the election of Josiane Margue as Secretary General.
Grethen is the lone female President of a sports federation in Luxembourg.
“I don’t want to be considered someone who is in a position just because there is a certain quota to fill,” said Grethen.
||I want people to look at me as someone who knows my subject and knows what needs to be done in order to develop the sport.
“I want people to look at me as someone who knows my subject and knows what needs to be done in order to develop the sport.”
Grethen’s basketball resume is quite vast. As a player from 1966-1981, she won one championship and two cups with Residence Walferdange.
For over the past 25 years, she has worked in basketball administration in various capacities, including Secretary General of the Luxembourg Basketball Federation for the last five years.
However, her election comes as a surprise, considering she wasn’t necessarily pursuing the position.
“I never thought of becoming President,” she said.
“I like being more behind the scenes.”
It took the urging and persuasion of all 34 clubs in Luxembourg to convince Grethen to run for President.
“There are lots of changes and many new problems to face, but I have to say that it is quite exciting and challenging,” Grethen said about her new responsibilities.
With her years of experience, Grethen has been able to witness the increase in female participation.
“I remember at my first FIBA Meeting in 1989 in Munich [Extraordinary World Congress], there were only two or three women in the room,” she said.
“Now there is a much greater amount of female representation, so I don’t feel so alone anymore.”
One of Grethen’s top priorities as President is to focus on the country’s youth programme.
Five years ago, the Federation implemented a boarding school programme for females in which girls go to school in the morning and then meet in the afternoon for basketball training. The programme runs from Monday to Thursday and the girls then return to their clubs on Friday. A similar programme was launched for boys two years ago.
“This programme is important because it helps us to build a team,” Grethen said.
Currently, there are two coaches on staff at the Luxembourg Basketball Federation – Kresimir Basic on the men’s side and Hermann Paar for women. Mathias Fischer will be replacing Basic in September.
“They are both doing a tremendous job with the help of assistant coaches,” Grethen said.
Through the support of the National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sport, Grethen hopes to be able to secure enough funding in order to bring on a full-time youth coach.
The affect of the youth program will be evident this summer as the country will participate in Promotion Cups, which includes the U16 Promotion Cup Women which Luxembourg is organising this week (July 11-16), the U16 European Championships Division B (men and women) and the U18 men.
“We need to start at the basics and then build up,” Grethen said.
“We also have two senior men and women national teams participating in the forthcoming European Championship Division B that will have a new look with very young players.”
In addition to the youth focus, Grethen wants to continue to expand international opportunities for players. One way this will be possible is through the scheduled appearance of a Luxembourg club in the EuroCup Women.
“International competition is vital for us in developing our players,” she said.
“We are a small country, so we need to make it possible for players to go abroad and then bring back that experience to the national team.”
The team focus that Grethen wants to see within her basketball teams is also evident by the way in which she looks at her staff and the operating of the Luxembourg Basketball Federation.
“We have a great group and with the help of my staff and colleagues on the board I think we can do a great job.”