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"Patriotism should come first": FBU on the decision to punish players for not joining the national team

Oleksandr ChekanovNews
Volodymyr Drabikovskyi. Source: FBU

The Executive Committee of the Basketball Federation of Ukraine has recently decided to punish players who do not arrive at the location of the national team of Ukraine without a valid reason. From now on, a player faces a suspension from basketball for up to two years for such a decision.

In particular, in the case of systematic (two or more times) unjustified failure to arrive at the call of the FBU to undergo a medical examination and/or participate in training and other activities in preparation for competitions and/or in international official competitions as part of the national team of Ukraine, the player may be sanctioned in the form of disqualification (prohibition to carry out any activity related to basketball, including administrative, sports, etc., in addition to the sanctions specified in this part.

Volodymyr Drabikovskyi, the Secretary General of the Basketball Federation of Ukraine, commented on this decision of the Executive Committee for the FBU website.

- The decision of the Executive Committee caused a great resonance in the basketball community. What preceeded the decision to impose sanctions on players who refuse to be called up to the national team?

- First, it's worth noting that we have always had sanctions in this regard. They were not as severe as they are now, but they were imposed on both players and clubs, and the federation has never imposed such sanctions in its history. But now times have changed and the situation in Ukraine has changed. Today our country is at war and each of us must do everything to bring our victory closer. Everyone must do their best.

Our men and women are defending the country in the trenches, and a national team athlete has to defend the honor of the Ukrainian flag. The vast majority of our players understand this perfectly and live by this idea. However, there are those who need to make extra efforts to come and play for the national team. This is exactly what is not normal! If there are such cases, then the Ukrainian community should know about such people and understand what kind of "heroes" we have raised, or rather failed to raise. We hope that there will be no such cases in the near future and that we will not have to impose sanctions. At the same time, we have the bitter experience of the men's national team's summer window, where some of those who could have helped the team turned their backs on it.

- This topic was already raised by Mykhailo Brodskyi in his comments after the Olympic pre-qualification matches. At the time, he expressed hope that the tournament in Istanbul would make some people think. Should any of the players be worried about the decision of the Executive Committee?

- I want to say that over the past year there have been cases when players did not report to the national team for various reasons. We looked into each case, talked to them, and so far have not imposed any sanctions on anyone. However, we are very concerned that in such a difficult time for Ukraine, some people are detached from our realities.

Indeed, there is such a problem, and not only in the men's national team but also in the women's team one. Garbajosa said that in Spain, the law on sports stipulates that an athlete who does not appear for the national team (in all sports) may be disqualified for two years. And this rule applies not only in Spain.

By the way, there is such a practice in Ukraine as well. For example, in the Ukrainian Volleyball Federation, and I am in close contact with the president, Mykhailo Melnyk, who confirmed to me that volleyball has long had a disqualification for this, and such players are not allowed to make international transfers. But the European organization has slightly different regulatory requirements for transfers.

- It doesn't always depend on the player's desire to join the national team. For example, the NBA will not let a basketball player play for the national team in the middle of the season. Would this be considered a valid reason?

- We understand that the NBA does not allow its players to play during the regular season, but this issue is regulated by FIBA. We have no complaints about these players, but when they have the opportunity, they should come to the national team, say, for the summer windows or training camp. But these same guys could help Ukraine in other ways. If you play in the NBA and can't make it to the national team, please donate a certain amount of money to the Armed Forces, do it publicly, encourage others, don't be silent, please! I repeat once again, each Ukrainian must work on his or her own front. If you can't go to the playground, help the Armed Forces and bring our victory closer!

''Patriotism should come first'': FBU on the decision to punish players for not joining the national team

In general, we are always sympathetic to the problems of players, we know that it is not easy to play abroad, to bear the burden and responsibility of a legionnaire. And each case is special. The FBU management and the national team coaches are always sympathetic to this. But there is no need to speculate on this.

The player may be injured or have other problems, but if you get a call to the national team, please explain. It can't be that the club coach told me not to go and I didn't come, it's not normal. In case of injury, the player must also come to the national team and undergo a medical examination so that the national team doctors can examine them and conclude how serious it is.

The FBU does not want to destroy a player's career. Under no circumstances. It is important for us that the player plays, develops, progresses and shows good basketball at the international level, but if there are such people and they refuse to play for the national team flag and the flag of Ukraine, then we should probably make their names public and take action. The country needs to know "its heroes".

- Do sanctions, including possible disqualification, apply to competitions under the auspices of the FBU?

- Disqualification applies to domestic competitions, but when we impose sanctions on athletes, we will notify FIBA and the National Federations of the countries, as well as the media. Will federations want to work with such players? That's a big question... But even if they do, the player will not be able to get anything else from the FBU, we will simply ignore them until they serve their disqualification. And they have to serve it if they want to associate themselves with Ukrainian basketball, return to the Ukrainian championship, or finish his career in Ukraine.

But I would like to see this issue closed and not a single case of failure to join the national team without a reason to be considered.

It is a great honor to play for your country, where you were born, studied, grew up and became a personality even in peacetime, and even more so now. Those with whom you grew up or crossed paths, with whom you played together on the same court, or went off to defend their homeland with arms in hand. You have a duty not to turn your back on your country.

In other sports, there are cases where an athlete has just been on the front line and is already going to the Ukrainian championship and winning it. This is inspiring. The example of our warrior and Super League player Petro Hlushko, who repels missile attacks at night and plays for his team Staryi Lutsk during the day if he has the opportunity, is also inspiring.

Once again, the vast majority of Ukrainian national teams are patriots! And don't forget that playing for the national team is a great chance to raise your individual rating. And when your team qualifies for the European Championship, it's a showcase, an opportunity to prove yourself and get a better contract for the next season. But this is usually in the background. Patriotism should come first.

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