Basketball fraternity mourns Baumann
Basketball fraternity mourns Baumann

The board of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) expresses shock over the sudden demise of FIBA Secretary General, Patrick Baumann which sad event occurred on Saturday at the on-going Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.

The board led by its President, Engineer Musa Kida says the death of Baumann who contributed to every aspect of basketball as a player, referee, referees trainer, coach and administrator has left a huge vacuum difficult to fill.

“This is a great loss which has left us all in shock. Our condolence to his immediate family, Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and all other professional sporting federations he belonged to.”

Until his death, he was a member of the International Olympic Committee, President of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and Executive Committee member of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Baumann who was a man of many parts was also the President of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Organising Committee, Coordination Commission and Chairman of the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Olympics.

Kida describes the late Baumann as an iconic figure and a leading light for many who contributed his best to global sports development especially basketball till his untimely death.

“His level of dedication to global sports development was unparalled and dying in the line of duty just cemented his iconic status in global sports management.”

While reminiscing on the good working relationship between the late Baumann and the NBBF, Kida notes: “His last correspondence with the NBBF was in September when he sent a letter to congratulate us as the first country to qualify for the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup as he looked forward to seeing us in China.”

Kida says the death should be a wakeup call for all basketball stakeholders in Nigeria to give their all in the service to humanity and basketball development because “tomorrow is not assured”.

FIBA condolences

FIBA President Horacio Muratore states: “On behalf of the entire FIBA family, I wish to express our deepest sympathies and pass on our condolences to Patrick’s wife Patricia, their family and loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this very difficult time.

“Patrick was a lot more than FIBA’s Secretary General and an IOC member. He was a very close friend of mine as well as to countless people in the basketball family and the wider sport community.

“Under his leadership, FIBA moved forward by leaps and bounds, with the organization modernizing itself to the extent of becoming a model which fellow International Federations followed.

“Patrick was at the forefront of FIBA making radical changes to its governance structure, successfully building and moving into its own state-of-the-art Headquarters outside of Geneva as well as launching 3×3, its urban discipline which became a part of basketball’s program at the Olympics.

“He was also instrumental in the process of ‘ONE FIBA’, the coming together of all of FIBA’s Regional Offices into one corporate group, with everyone looking and heading in the same direction for the best interests of our beloved sport. Last but not least, he led the way in the creation and implementation of FIBA’s New Competition System.

“For all of this and for so much more, FIBA is forever indebted to Patrick. Without doubt we would not be where we are today were it not for everything that he did. His unwavering commitment, tireless work ethic and pure passion for basketball mean he will forever have his place in FIBA’s history.”

A Swiss national born on August 5, 1967, Mr Baumann was a former player, coach and referee who first joined FIBA as a lawyer in 1994 and was appointed FIBA Deputy Secretary General in 1995.

In 2002, he was unanimously appointed FIBA Secretary General by the FIBA Central Board. As such, he became only the third FIBA Secretary General, after Dr. William Jones and Borislav Stankovic.

Mr Baumann officially started his term of office in 2003, a position he held until his death.

He had an impressive educational background including an MBA from the Business School of the University of Chicago, a Masters in Sports Administration Management (MEMOS) from the University of Lyon in France and a law degree from the University of Lausanne.

Mr Baumann became a member of the IOC in 2007.

He was a member of the IOC Evaluation Commissions for the Olympic Games 2008 and 2020, a member of the Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games 2012, chairman of the Evaluation Commission and Vice-Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games 2024.

He was also appointed Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games 2028 and was a member of various other IOC Commissions.

IOC shocked

On their part, IOC through their president, Thomas Bach also laments: “This is a great shock which has hit us all very hard. We can hardly believe this terrible news.

“Particularly since, even today, we have seen him working hard, as we always knew him, for the sport he loved. We lose a young and sympathetic leader full of hope who was standing for the future of sport. Our thoughts are with his wife, his children and his family.”

To honour the memory of Mr Baumann, the IOC President asked for the Olympic flag to be flown at half-mast at the IOC Headquarters and at the IOC Headquarters at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires for three days. The IOC will also hold a memorial in the Youth Olympic Village.

Mr Baumann was appointed to the International Advisory Board of the World Academy of Sport in 2009.

He was a member of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS) since 2010 and was elected as a Council member of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) in 2011 and re-elected in 2015.

Baumann was also serving as a member of the Executive Committee and the Foundation Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

He was the President of the 2020 Lausanne Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee and, in 2016, was elected President of GAISF, formerly SportAccord, for the 2016-2020 term and President of SportAccord, former SportAccord Convention, in 2017.

Mr Baumann is survived by his wife and two children.

 

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