MOSCOW, August 25. /TASS/. Russia’s famous ex-basketballer Andrey Kirilenko, elected earlier in the day the president of the Russian Basketball Federation (RBF), told TASS on Tuesday he wanted someone from his own circle to represent the country’s interests at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
Russia has been represented in FIBA by Yulia Anikeyeva, who until today was the acting president of the RBF and laid down her mandate on Tuesday, when the national governing body of basketball was scheduled to elect its new president. Anikeyeva, however, remained Russia’s representative in FIBA and FIBA Europe.
"There are some decisions, which we cannot influence, therefore, Yulia Anikeyeva remains in FIBA as a representative of Russia’s interests," Kirilenko said in an interview with TASS. "We cannot change it, because FIBA elects its administrative bodies independently."
"Of course I would like Russia to be represented in international organizations by a man from my team," Kirilenko told TASS. "We will be holding talks on the issue with FIBA and other parties."
The official website of the RBF quoted Anikeyeva earlier in the day as saying: ""I will continue my work in the administrative bodies of the International Basketball Federation and FIBA-Europe representing Russia’s basketball interests."
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.
After Anikeyva announced her resignation and before the voting took place, Kirilenko said addressing the RBF’s extraordinary session in Moscow that the Russian basketball was suffering from the deepest crisis ever and drastic changes needed to be introduced.
"Our sport is currently suffering from its deepest crisis," he said. "The current lack of unity in our basketball family has a negative impact on our global reputation. Our main task is to consolidate all forces in the country. The Russian basketball is an urgent need of drastic changes."
"I love basketball very much. Many of you saw me growing up and passing all stages of the Russian basketball," he said. "All of you had an opportunity to study my election agenda and, therefore, you should realize that I plan to pay attention to all aspects of our basketball development."
Subsequently, a total of 215 votes were cast in favor of Kirilenko, nobody abstained or voted against and one voting ballot was declared invalid.
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, was viewed as 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.