FIBA (Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur - the word 'Amateur' was dropped in 1989 after the elimination of the distinction between amateur and professional basketball players) is an independent association governing basketball at the international level. It is also the sole competent authority for basketball in the world.
Founded in 1932 in Geneva, Switzerland, by its first Secretary General (R. William Jones) with the initial adhesion of 8 national basketball federations, it now numbers 212 associate national federations .
Its headquarters were first in Rome, then Bern and - for a long period of time - Munich. In June 2002, the FIBA World headquarters have moved back to its place of origin, Geneva, Switzerland, in new and modern office premises.
Over 400 million players and over 1500 international referees are only some of the figures indicating what basketball represents in the modern world, not to mention the success at the last World Championship for Men 2002 in Indianapolis, USA, and the performance of the winning national team of Yugoslavia.
In order to best follow and encourage the development of basketball facilities, in 1994 FIBA founded its own Study Centre which, through the co-operation of manufacturing companies specialised in the field of basketball equipment, has initiated - and intends to pursue further - an important project destined to improve the safety and general conditions of basketball equipment and facilities.
Such a project involves the development of standards and the improvement of existing norms and regulations concerning basketball facilities and equipment. Under the guidance of FIBA these will be modernised and, within acceptable limitations, acquire multi-functional character. In any case, suitable to the increasing demands posed by the operators and users as well as in accordance with standards aimed at preserving the safety of players, referees, journalists and spectators.
An important basis of such a project has been the crucial support of the publications that the FIBA Study Centre has developed for the national federations, clubs, local authorities and other entities involved in the construction and/or refurbishment of sports facilities aimed at hosting basketball games. These publications - available on request from FIBA - are currently as follows:
Currently at the planning stage is the next publication Basic Outdoor Basketball Courts which promotes the creation of outdoor basketball courts in small towns, large cities, school structures, leisure facilities, parks and, more in general, in areas where a relevant part of the local population would gather. Indeed, outdoor courts and playgrounds often are the basic sites in which the young people begin to play basketball and socialise. This publication indicates the necessity of a correct feasibility study and the importance of choosing ecologically-compatible construction materials (flooring and sub-flooring) with suitable dimensions (areas and support structures have to be appropriately chosen) and suitable equipment (baskets, nets, scoreboards, etc.) aimed at optimising usage and duration of the structure.
Another important step for the FIBA Study Centre has been the co-operation with the general world of sports by sharing information on how basketball attempts to answer the ever-increasing demands of modern sports activities. I would like to point out that the FIBA Study Centre has been constantly present at the FSB Köln - the most important trade fair for sports equipment - where important contacts have taken place with entities such as the EAA (European Arenas Association) e FESI (Fédération Européenne Sport Industries). This permits us to develop further the concept of sports facilities management as well as the co-operation with large manufacturers of basketball equipment and to remain updated with the changes and developments in the international market for the sector.
Indeed, the co-operation of some manufacturers of basketball equipment and products has led to the development of an "approval programme" for basketballs, backstop units, sports floorings, scoreboards and others. All this with the view to eventually enlarge such an approval procedure to categories of products and equipment not strictly related to basketball, such as: lighting, sound, air-conditioning, etc.
As a consequence, the collaborating manufacturing companies - namely the partners of the FIBA Study Centre - have been divided into the following categories:
The approval programme is based on two fundamental premises:
If a product meets the pre-requisites and has passed the test, the manufacturing company receives a Certificate of Approval. The denomination of "partner" is granted according to other important pre-requisites such as distribution at the international level, availability to co-operate with the FIBA Study Centre in the field of research and development and the availability to grant aid in the form of equipment to national federations in less developed countries.
As an example of the Approval Programme 2003-2006, hereby follows the document relative to the category of backboard support units.
FIBA Approval Programme 2003-2006 - Backboard Support Units (20 slides)
A huge step in the development of equipment for our sport (basketball) has been the inclusion of the Basketball Equipment Appendix in the Official Basketball Rules 2002. This contains all the technical pre-requisites in detail as shown, as well as the regulations concerning the different competition levels.
The FIBA Study Centre is indeed aware that some work is still be done in order to improve the quality of sports equipment. However, with the knowledge and encouragement of what has been accomplished in the last few years, we truly believe that we are on the right track to make available to the sport of basketball ever-improving technologies and products.
The ISSS has successfully concluded the AGM and the Technical Conference in Cagliari. Scientific and Individual Members present accepted financials, audit report and activity schedule as presented.