Meeting with FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann

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Belarus stands for integrity and transparency in sport, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Secretary General of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Patrick Baumann on 24 July.

The head of state said he appreciates an opportunity to host the 2018 FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup that is ongoing in Minsk. The president assured that Belarus will prove a great host. He expressed hope that the country will be trusted with other international basketball events.

“On my part I can assure you of the absolute interest of the audience in any event held within the framework of your federation. I think the head of the Belarusian Basketball Federation has already told you about our capacities and available logistics. Rest assured, if we embark on something, we will handle it at the highest level possible, because government agencies and structures are always involved in it. Any tournament in any sport is always an event of nationwide importance. This is part of our youth policy, efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle and sport in our society. Therefore, you do not have to worry about the conduct of any events that we will run,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

As head of the National Olympic Committee, Aleksandr Lukashenko voiced his stance on the most important and relevant issues of the global sport.  “We are for clean sport, full transparency of international organizations, including the International Olympic Committee. We are in favor of protecting athletes, especially clean athletes,” the president said.

The Belarusian leader is confident that “it is not right to blame the whole team.” “We believe that every athlete should bear personal responsibility for doping and other unsportsmanlike behavior. We are for transparency of international sports committees and, first of all, the IOC,” the head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also said: “We have a lot of complaints in respect to the International Olympic Committee. I believe that this organization is not just bureaucratic, it is sometimes irresponsible. As head of the National Olympic Committee, I will have to raise this issue at the next international sports event.”

The president is convinced that “it is inadmissible to make sport part of dirty politics”. “We are absolutely against it. The sport should be clean, athletes should do sports, and everyone should be treated equally,” the head of state said. “As far as I know, you also advocate clean sport, support for clean athletes, and the efficiency of international sports organizations. If so, consider me your friend,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The FIBA secretary general thanked the Belarusian leader for the opportunity to have a meeting and noted that it was a double honor for him. “I am meeting not just with the president of a good country but also the chairman of the National Olympic Committee,” he said.

Patrick Baumann also expressed gratitude to Belarus for a good organization of the 2018 FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup which is currently underway in Minsk. In his words, the competitions are held at a very high level and they can already be named successful.

The FIBA secretary general agreed with the position of the Belarusian president on sport development in general. “We must protect clean sport and clean athletes. I am absolutely confident that our positions on sport development are 100% the same,” he stressed.