3 questions for . . . Jean-Pierre Siutat President of the Fédération Française de Basketball (FFBB) and Delegate Vice President of the French National Sporting and Olympic Committee (CNOSF) Regional Division.

Studio Photo BCM Gravelines
Septembre 2012
Photo HervŽ Bellenger

Mr. Siutat began his career 30 years ago as founder and coach for the Tarbes Gespe Bigorre women’s team, and went on to build his career. With the Basketball World Cup coming up soon, the leader of French basketball explains his winning strategy.

‘The goal is to strengthen existing structures, while still working together closely. That’s the key to success’.

What’s your management plan to lead your teams to victory and avoid any setbacks?

My management strategy mobilizes our current directors and national administrators in new projects that are part of a yearly agenda. The strategy encompasses ideas about public service and quality protocol. The goal is to work together, stay aware of what’s happening in the field and share project responsibilities. Maintaining a coherent pyramid organization (going up from clubs to the federation) is key; each structure must move forward at the same speed. A lack of coordination between the different structures regarding professionalism or new practices could lead to slower responses or even overall immobility. I wanted there to be a unified team effort and transparent, interactive communications between all the entities. That’s why we organized conferences with all the leagues and committees, and why I visited all the regions to keep in touch with what’s happening locally. Our work is organized in close collaboration with the Ligue Nationale de Basketball.

As leader of the Fédération Française de Basketball, what are the projects you want to accomplish?

French basketball is doing great; the professional teams have made a lot of progress. Both in Europe and internationally, our young and senior players have good rankings. We’ve also topped the 500,000 registered member mark. In 2013 Tony Parker (for ‘L’Equipe’ magazine) and the French national team (for Radio France) were voted ‘Sportsmen of the Year’. We continue to improve in several areas: regional groups, youth training, the development of women’s basketball, competitions such as the ‘Trophées Coupe de France’, and finding new financial backing for the FFBB brand, to name a few.

What do you think the Fédération’s role should be?

The Fédération’s role is not just to provide rules or oversee or control clubs’ activities. It’s also to encourage and assist club initiatives by meeting regional needs − for example, by combining clubs to create better structure. The FFBB seeks to improve its regional presence by encouraging the creation of new clubs where there are none or not enough, by setting up new tools and by creating training programs for association managers. Our sports politics must support athletics as a way to participate in regional goals for leisure activities, education, social programs, social cohesion and communications. Our approach involves both quality and quantity. Everyone can play a role in the story of French basketball; so we pay equal attention to each one of our members.