Lithuanian Basketball Federation sent an official letter to FIBA

Lukas Malinauskas
BasketNews journalist
2022-09-06 14:59

Lithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF) sent an official letter to FIBA with insights from the coaching staff about refereeing in EuroBasket 2022. Lithuania demonstrates a desire for change in terms of improving the refereeing standard across the competitions.

Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

After unsuccessfully filing a protest to FIBA during EuroBasket 2022, the Lithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF) is showing initiative for change.

The heads of the federation have sent an official letter to FIBA with the insights of the coaching staff about refereeing in EuroBasket 2022.

"Unprecedented failure. The most important part is that they aren't getting ready to admit it officially," Secretary-General Mindaugas Balciunas commented. "I think that even during the worst times you can come out respectful if you solve the situation objectively and openly. In this case, we haven't seen any official steps so far."

It's not the first time that Lithuania is on the wrong side of inaction by referees as goaltending was not called during the 2019 FIBA World Cup quarterfinal against France by Rudy Gobert.

"I've talked with FIBA Europe Executive Director Kamil Novak. I see indecisiveness as they see the obvious mistake but at the same time understand that the mistake is caused by them. Self-punishment is a difficult action for FIBA," Balciunas explained.

"Reacting to the situation and investigating it is not only required, it's mandatory. All the sanctions should be announced. It would be healthy for the system itself," the operative continued. "In essence, it's been a long-standing problem with the preparation of referees ever since the war with EuroLeague began. The best referees were distanced from FIBA competitions. It's still going on, and the situation is not being solved systemically."

Balciunas has noticed a lack of self-criticism from FIBA as refereeing mistakes are happening in all four cities - Cologne, Tbilisi, Prague, and Milan.

"The coaches of the national team have gathered their insight about refereeing tendencies. It's not particularly criticism or searching for excuses. There are things that are constantly being noticed. For example, take a look at the level of physicality in the Lithuania-Slovenia game and in the Lithuania-France match," Balciunas gave an example. "Two completely different things. It's enough to touch Luka Doncic with a single finger to get a foul while Lukas Lekavicius was being carried like in a wrestling gym. You cannot play two different games by two different rulesets in that same competition."

"Communication between the referees, between referees and players, and between referees and coaches," he named what has to improve. "It has to be improved. If the communication was fluid, the situation with the missed free throw would just simply not happen."

The supposed war between FIBA and EuroLeague, which ultimately results in EuroLeague referees not participating in FIBA competitions is at the issue's core. However, Balciunas doesn't think a single step has been taken recently to move the needle.

"I haven't seen a sign that the dialogue between FIBA and the EuroLeague would improve," he told. "I don't know a single article that would say that it's coming. I haven't seen any of the main people from the EuroLeague in EuroBasket. People from NBA come here but haven't seen one from EuroLeague."

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