Jorge Garbajosa was elected this Saturday in Munich as the new president of FIBA Europe, after beating the other candidate, the Frenchman Jean-Pierre Siurat, in the vote to succeed the Turkish Turgay Demirel. Garbajosa, 45, will immediately become the director of the great European organization, and has three months to leave the presidency of the Spanish Basketball Federation. Elisa Aguilar, 222 internationals and winner of six medals with the national team, and currently director of Competitions for the Federation, is the main candidate to succeed him. Aguilar was also elected as a new member of the governing body of FIBA Europe.
Garbajosa thus becomes the Spaniard who has reached the highest managerial position in the history of basketball along with Jordi Bertomeu, who was president of the Euroleague. The man from Madrid, 167 internationals and with six shorts medals with the national team, has asserted in his victory (35 votes among the 50 members of FIBA Europe) the great moment of the national teams and a model that has not stopped reaping successes in recent years. The absolute men’s team is the current world champion (2019, a title that they will defend this summer, from August 25 to September 10 in Indonesia and the Philippines) and Europe (Berlin 2022), and for the first time occupies number one in the ranking world ahead of the United States. The women’s team, despite not qualifying for the last World Cup, is second among FIBA’s own favorites, after France, to win the Eurobasket that takes place from June 15 to 25 in Tel Aviv and Ljubljana. And all the training categories won medals in their respective competitions in a historic past summer: eight finals out of eight possible, with golds in the men’s European sub-20, men’s European sub-18 and women’s European sub-20, and silver in the two U-17 World Cups, the women’s U-18 European Championship and the two U-16 European Championships.
In an interview in EL PAÍS last December, Jorge Garbajosa reflected on this model: “China, Venezuela, Angola, Portugal, NBA franchises have come to the federation… They want to know how we do it. It is all part of a whole. There are no clubs, federations… The clubs are important so that the teams have the ability to compete, and vice versa. They are communicating vessels. A good selection makes clubs better and vice versa. The problem is when you want to disassociate it. That has been my main task, to explain that one part is worthless without the other. The ACB is the best League in Europe and the national team is the best”. “If I have the honor of living this day, it is because Spanish basketball is a reference throughout the world,” Garbajosa commented this Saturday.
His great challenge will now be to move towards institutional peace in the world of European basketball, mainly to build bridges to solve the schism of a calendar in which the Euroleague matches (organization now chaired by Dejan Bodiroga) overlap with those of the selection windows and that prevent many countries from always having their best players.
The former international player was elected president of the Spanish Federation in 2016 and re-elected in 2020 for a period of four more years as he was the only candidate. The Federation, which this year celebrates its centenary, will now call new elections to choose a top leader until 2024, when there will be other elections coinciding with the Olympic cycle.
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