THE DOOR FOR FIBA PRESIDENT IS OPENED FOR ME

After successful career as a basketball player, during which he was forced to miss representation action due to his family obligations, and after lot of team and individual awards Dejan Tomasevic has entered new challenges in the Basketball Federation of Serbia. Current Secretary General in our house of basketball is a candidate for new FIBA Europe President and he has big chances to inherit Bora Stankovic, Radomir Saper and Nebojsa Popovic, who were eminent officials, on May 25, in Munich.

I am still satisfied after ten years of work in the Basketball Federation of Serbia. I am also happy as I used to be. I am grateful to the people who have recommended, appointed, brought and given me chance to be thus useful for basketball. I think that we have don lot of good things. The most important is that our male and female players are satisfied as they are on the first place- says Tomasevic in his interview to Blicsport.

It is the tradition of our Federation that former teammates, like Stankovic, Popovic and Saper in the past, make results as the officials too. How much does it mean to you that you manage Serbian Federation with two former teammates Sasa Danilovic and Sasa Djordjevic?

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Our path has been paved. We have been shown how it should function . I have realized that the first time I went abroad. You are respected in different way , and different things are expected from you when you come from Serbia than from some non-basketball country . When I came the Basketball Federation of Serbia I realized how much effort and love they have invested. I try to follow their example. It is one thing to be good basketball player , but if you do not continue to make efforts as an official, it is easy to lose your credibility , it can also be counterproductively. A good player does not have to become good official. We have had good teachers, and I hope that we are their consistent successors, and that even better will succeed us.

What are the chance for Tomasevic to become the first man in FIBA?

Talking about general picture the situation is not good. There are lot of bad things , lot of divisions, undefined situations. There are two other candidates , current FIBA Europe President , Turgay Demirel from Turkey, and Vice- President Cyriel Coomas from Belgium. I have good contacts with many national federations. At the meeting with the representatives of Turkish, Slvoenian, Croatian and other federations we have come to a conclusion that we need a new name. I would like to thank to Sasa Danilovic as he has suggested me for this position. We made this decision two months ago. The election is on May 25 in Munich . I have entered this both with my heart and mind. I hope that I can improve lot of things, above all the burning issues regarding the relation with Euroleague. If I am appointed , I have already announced to the people from Euroleague that we will talk every day until we find solution, because I think there has not been any communication between FIBA Europe, Euroleague and clubs. I am sure that we will reach a compromise. I talked to the officials in UEFA, I met with Aleksander Ceferin, and they are willing to help us to solve this dispute. I am astonished that there has never been any communication FIBA-UEFA as we know that in football they have brilliant relation with “their EKA” that is their competence. The same clubs are in the both sports. The fact is that we have lot of problems with the windows, which are good thing, introduced after UEFA. They have brought certain improvement in the operation of the Federations, but we have lot of national teams that did not qualify for the World Cup because they did not have chance to play in the full composition. Luckily , we have qualified , even though there was not a single game that we played with 50-60 percent of our best team. We shall do our best to enable that next qualifiers everyone can play with their best players. During my visits to Federations around Europe I am very surprised that most of them are well organized , which is not perceived from our perspective as a country that always play for medal. Of course, they do not have the same problems, but all of them are interested ot improve the image of European basketball.

How do the problems from Europe reflect in the region and domestic basketball? How possible is it for Basketball Federation of Serbia to regain the competence over the league in cooperation with the clubs, because according to the Statute the main task of the Federation is “ development of basketball in Serbia” , and currently there are no possibilities for this?

The key is in communication. There hasn’t been communication since the breakup of S.F.R.Y. When the basketball destiny was created , national federations met only twice – 2006 and 2009. Since we have come , we have begun to communicate intensively. We have shared ideas, applied what is good from Croatia and Slovenia , for a while we have actively participated in the development of ABA league. No one likes imposed solutions. Communication with the clubs is on the higher level that it used to be. Everything that happens on the level FIBA- Euroleague reflects , so we have to solve that first. It is hard to reset , start from the beginning , but the problem will be solved if there is will.

Is it easier for you when you go to the meetings with legends like Vrankovic, Nestorovic, Turkoglu, Sabonis, Garabajosa, Kirilenko instead with bureaucrats?

We understand each other very well. We are here not for personal promotion , but to return what we have received through basketball, each of us has idea to make his own federation better and more successful , well aware that it is not good and that we want to do something. Maybe , now it is the moment to bring the basketball to higher level it deserves or get down deeper with this problem. We subject to general interest, nothing can be done without a team .

In Antwerp you have watched Djorjevic’s triumph in FIBA Champion League?

It is a big thing for a club , for Bologna and Basketball Federation , as I said to Sale when we met. We are proud that the winning coach last year was Sakota and this year is Djordjevic. This shows that beside best players we also have the best coaching staff. I believe that this will be flying wheel for Bologna . I was very happy whenever I played there. Sasa, someone who has been charismatic and winner as a player, projects that on his players now when he is a coach. I means a lot that he has found himself in the role of a coach , because I think that there is a lot he can give to our country , national team , and both to our and European clubs. The tournament organization was on a high level. I have been surprised by the number of spectators at the second game, the hall with 17000 seats was crowded. The quality of basketball was not on its level, Europe can not afford to itself four continental competitions, only up to two. We must devote to our domestic competitions, and only the best should come to the international stage. This will be the issue that my team and I will devote in case I am elected as FIBA president.

WE HAVEN’T HAD BETTER TEAM FOR DECADES

Expectations from the World cup in China?

I can already see the statements of the national team players who can’t wait to start with the gathering and practice. Most of them will have time to rest and recover from injuries. I hope we will be in full composition, and if that will be so, I am sure that we have not had better national team in the last 20 years. Sasa Djordjevic, a Head Coach , coaching staff and Basketball Federation have done everything that is to them in terms of organization, now it comes to players. I will never impose high goals. The most important is that they enjoy themselves , as they already know how to win a title.

PLAYERS, COACHES, OFFICIALS , JOURNALISTS…..

As a former player you know what is necessary for a team outside the basketball court and how much does this mean to you in your work?

The experience as a player means a lot. I know how the players think when they play for the national team. They need peace, comfort, good training conditions, not to worry how and where they travel, the mountain their preparation will take place, and the hotel they will stay. Two – three months ago we finished everything concerning the preparation period, training games and departure to China. We have received clear instructions from Sasa Djordjevic’s team, so we have worked out the preparation plan, departure for Kopaonik, return, preparation game schedule. The players will travel in business class, which is important for them, and it is the least they deserve. I know that players do not like to be surrounded by the people who are not in their team, so I have never entered the locker room , I have never entered the basketball court, even though I often watch their practice. I know how irritated I was by this while I was a player.

Do you include the journalists in this?

Yes, but of course there are people who are welcomed. The players are men, they want to gain the journalists’ trust, to know that they will not sell them. I thing that basketball national team is always surrounded by positive people.