Sabonis Stays On As LKF President

11 October 2013
FIBA Europe Secretary General Kamil Novak giving the silver medal to Lithuanian Federation President Arvydas Sabonis
Sabonis, seen here last month, during the medal ceremony at EuroBasket 2013

A brief period of uncertainty in Lithuanian basketball concluded on Thursday with the national federation (LKF) announcing firmly in an official statement that Arvydas Sabonis will continue in his role as president.

Sabonis had expressed his intention to resign from the post only last week, during a meeting of the LKF Executive Committee that examined the performance of Lithuania's national teams in last summer's youth and senior European Championships.

On the contrary, Thursday's announcement stipulates that Mindaugas Balciunas will now step down as Secretary General while Sabonis, an emblematic figure of the sport in the Baltic nation and a member of both the FIBA and the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fames, will continue at the helm of the federation.

"This week has been difficult in the basketball world, there were many discussions and explorations of different solutions," Sabonis stated.

"I am sure that Lithuanian basketball will remain strong and continue to improve its position in the world.

"I am grateful to Mindaugas Balciunas for spending many years in the Lithuanian Basketball Federation.

"I have no doubt that he will not deviate from basketball and will work for the sake of the sport we all love," Sabonis concluded in the statement.

Balciunas explained in the same statement why he decided to terminate his work at the LKF.

Lithuaina head coach Jonas Kazlauskas celebrating with Linas Kleiza
With it now declared that Arvydas Sabonis' role as LKF president will continue, Jonas Kazlauskas has confirmed he wants to remain on as head coach of the national team

"I made up my mind when Arvydas Sabonis agreed to remain in the Lithuanian Basketball Federation," the former LKF Secretary General said.

"It was the decisive factor in my decision.

"I leave with the LKF a strong, stable, professional organisation.

"I had the opportunity to contribute to its development and growth.

"It was a wonderful time with professional, basketball-loving people.

"I am grateful to (former LKF president) Vladas Garastas, who led me to the federation, and I am glad that I had the opportunity to work with Arvydas Sabonis."

Sabonis was elected as LKF President in October 2011, following EuroBasket in Lithuania.

In one of the most important decisions during the first year of his tenure, the reins of the senior national team were handed to Jonas Kazlauskas, more than a decade after his first spell in charge of the team.

Kazlauskas had made public last week his wish to step down from the position, in case Sabonis decided not to see through his presidential mandate.

The 58-year-old tactician was understood to have strained professional relations with Balciunas.

In the light of Thursday's developments however, Kazlauskas clarified that he considered natural to stay on as coach with Sabonis as president.

"If Arvydas is back, I do not see a problem," Kazlauskas said in an interview with

"Unless in the meantime the Executive Committee has changed opinions about me.

"But if nothing has changed, I will continue to work in the job."

Kazlauskas led a relatively youthful Lithuania side to the final of EuroBasket 2013 last September.

The Baltic nation clinched silver in the big event in Slovenia, after falling 80-66 to France in the title game.

The LKF Executive Committee will meet in late October to elect a new Secretary General.




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