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MOSCOW, August 25. /TASS/. Russia’s famous ex-basketballer Andrey Kirilenko, a sole candidate for the post of the president of the Russian Basketball Federation (RBF), was elected unanimously on Tuesday to take charge of the national governing body of basketball.
A total of 215 votes were cast in favor of Kirilenko, nobody abstained or voted against and one voting ballot was declared invalid.
"I thank you all for your trust," Kirilenko said after the voting results were announced. "I hope that together will manage to return the surrendered positions of the Russian basketball."
The RBF’s elections of the president and members of the Executive Committee were held on Tuesday within the frames of the federation’s extraordinary conference. Before Tuesday, Kirilenko and Dmitry Domani, the general manager of the national men’s basketball team, were the only two candidates to take the helm of the federation.
The RBF, however, announced on its website on Tuesday morning that Domani, who was the last-minute nominee proposed by a number of Russian regional basketball federations, decided to withdraw his candidacy.
Kirilenko, 34, called it a day in his basketball career earlier in the year and is currently the sole candidate to take the helm of the RBF, which is living through an uneasy period. The federation was struck hard earlier this year, when women’s national team, the 2003, 2007 and 2011 European Champions, failed to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
The RBF’s extraordinary election conference, which started at 12:00 p.m. Moscow time (09:00 GMT) on Tuesday, is also expected to put an end to the long-lasting conflict in the Russian basketball, which prompted the RBF’s suspension.
Late last month the RFB has been suspended by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), which cited the lack of transparency in the Russian federation’s management as the reason for its decision. All Russian national basketball teams were suspended from international competitions as a result of the suspension.
However, at a session of the FIBA’s Central Board, which convened on August 8-9 in Tokyo, Japan, it was decided to all the Russian national teams were to play at the international level championships, but the suspension of the RFB remained in force.
FIBA’s suspension of the RFB put in extreme jeopardy Russian national men team’s participation in the 2015 FIBA European Championship, to be held between September 5 and 20.
This year’s championship is of a particular value, since it will not only decide the title of the best European basketball team, but also serves as a qualifying tournament for the national teams’ spots at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.
Earlier in the month, a Moscow Court ruled to oblige the RBF to hold a conference for electing the organization’s new president and executive committee.
Commenting on the RBF suspension, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said in mid-August that "As soon as we restore governance in basketball, we’ll address the issue of the lift of sanctions.".