21.04.14 | Maxim Ryabkov: Our self-esteem has been slapped, but it’s not a disaster for UMMC
UMMC basketball club Director Maxim Ryabkov shared his opinion about the reasons of team’s misfortune in the Final Eight, limits for the legionaries and told about possible changes of the roster.
- UMMC Head Coach Olaf Lange mentioned the fact that in March the team didn’t have any major matches as one of the reasons of its misfortune in the Final Eight Semi-final. Isn’t it better to refuse from being the host party that automatically gets the place in the Final Eight and compete in the preliminary stage?
- Next season it will be exactly that way. We will have the Final Four and one of the teams that would be able to pass the Quarter-final stage will host it. As a matter of fact we could use more game experience and we didn’t care that much about any host’s privilege because anyway we were able to make it to the top-eight. Next year we will have Quarter-final matches that will probably take place on the 3rd, 6th, and 11th of March. Next year in about the same time from the 12th to the 14th of April the Final Four will take place. Respectively after the 11th of March 2015 the Final round host will be chosen from the Final Four participants.
- You mentioned that Ekaterinburg is always ready to host the Final rounds…
- Frankly speaking we are a little bit tired after having conducted three Finals in last four years.
- Are you still full of enthusiasm?
- Maybe next week it will appear once again. But I think there will be many other candidates to conduct the Final Four and our chances would be not high. After all it might be the right thing to do.
Slap on the self-esteem
- Do you have the feeling that this defeat was not as painful as the one that had happened before when UMMC couldn’t get any other place rather than the third one. What do you feel now about last-year victory?
- This year the situation has completely changed. Galatasaray was number eight at that time, after this year play-off it is number one. Last year we were the first club, but this season was not very successful for us. Let’s don’t forget that we have been in the European top three for seven seasons and it’s also a kind of record. Frankly speaking our self-esteem has been slapped, but it’s not a disaster for UMMC, because we have «fresh» title. It’s first one for me, but for my direction, for the club founders it is the second title in the carrier. Maybe that is why it seems to be easier to stand the slap on our pride that we had. We will do our best to cope with it all together.
- What happened to the team in the Semi-final game against Galatasaray? Why didn’t it play in defense?
- I think that it was self-assurance and excessive self-confidence. Not only the players had it, but all of us were opinionated including coaches and the club management. But according to our policy we don’t interfere into the coaches’ work with the team. The coach is the one that can provide the comments on what we had and what we missed. I tend to think that there was some imperfection and slackness in the work. Figuratively speaking our players went on the floor and waited to be asked for autographs, while the Turkish team came out to play basketball. We were not ready to face it.
- You were on the bench during the game. Have UMMC players been really shocked?
- You know, now it seems to be a mean joke, but last year we also had a poor start of the Semi-final game against Bourges and were losing 0:9. That time we easily dealt with the situation and ended the game with big score difference. But it didn’t turn out the same way this year. I am sure that everyone including players and the head coach were absolutely assured that like the last year we would be able solve our troubles during the game. This time we didn’t have enough time to do it. We were able to reduce the score difference from 25 to 6 points, but ran out of time to do more.
- The team still has to continue the competition in the Championship of Russia final games. Is it possible that EuroLeague’s misfortune might affect UMMC’s performance?
- I hope it won’t happen. We had a serious talk with the team; the club founders came to the lockers and talked to the players and the coaches. The players must take their time to think everything over. During the Final Eight we won four out of five games with 15-20 point advantage, so we will keep on getting ready. Unfortunately this year we had got similar good slaps in Kursk, Bourges and Kayseri, but we were not able to learn these lessons all the way to the final game. We made necessary short-term conclusions, but later we forgot them and got covered with bronze.
- Is the coaching staff guilty of what has happened?
- We are all guilty. I mean all those people who work with the team and close to it. It is not only about coaches, but it is also my fault as a manager. It is our common problem.
We haven’t talk to RFB since September
- The season goes in the atmosphere of uncertainty about the Russian Federation of Basketball (RFB) management accompanied by the new limits of legionaries. Does it affect UMMC’s everyday life?
- It doesn’t. We are keeping away from the situation around the federation for a long time. We haven’t been communicating with the current federation management since September when we understood that no one was going to fulfill all the promises that had been made by the RFB President before the elections. This is not the first and for sure nor the last time when every one of us witness this kind of the situation. That is why we keep aside of what is going on and work with our club and develop basketball in the Urals. Overcrowded Sport Hall during the Final Eight is the best evidence of our work. That is what we do and it is our common contribution to popularization of basketball. I hope a new RBF President will be elected soon and we are ready to cooperate with the federation, but it doesn’t directly affect us in any way. It’s very inconvenient when the rules keep on changing every year and we can’t sign a typical medium term contract while most of the players look for some sort of guarantees that last long than 1 year. It deprives us of any advantages in front of our European competitors and I meant not only UMMC, but all Russian clubs.
- You wanted to transform the League and initiate the Championship of the Open basketball league. Is it still possible in cooperation with current RFB management?
- We were promised that we would be granted self-determination rights for free. We were ready to do it, we found the titled sponsor for the League that could free all other nine teams (at least nine). If there were any other candidates the number of teams wasn’t limited. It might have been 15-16 clubs. We were ready to free them of all fees as a payment for the right to compete in the Championship. According to my estimate each club might save up to 5 million of rubles. For those clubs that are experiencing financial difficulties this discount might have been even more. UMMC was not going to get any financial profit because the title sponsor was one of our partners. We would have got the same payments that we have now.
This money might help to support other clubs and increase the internal competition in our league as well as marketing, mass-media, and television components. In fact this year neither of the Championship of Russia games appeared on TV. The fans were able to see only the Cup of Russia Final Four games. But when we were told: hey guys, in this case the federation will lose the income from the clubs’ fees and you and your sponsor will have to compensate it, obviously all these intentions lost any business, economic and moral sense.
- Did you track the situation, followed the results of the courts or talked to the candidates for RFB President’s position?
- As an Executive committee member I have the right to draw attention to be situation around the federation. But even I don’t have access to any documentation. The only thing we want is to get a clear understanding of what is going on with our federation and our basketball. I know that there are few candidates to take this position and if it happens we are ready to communicate with anyone who has a definite plan of action and is ready to execute an efficient policy toward all components of the modern Russian basketball: junior teams and tournaments, referee’s issues as well as national team and clubs.
During the Final Eight I talked to the President of Turkish basketball federation Turgay Demirel and he said that Turkish federation is going to ease the limits for the foreign legionaries in order to attract high-class players from abroad. They have already figured out that it’s a wrong way when the players of title nationality or citizenship lose the motivation. It’s Demirel’s opinion and it is highly possible that this man might be elected to be FIBA Europe President in May.
I can’t say that we keep a rapt attention to the situation. UMMC is a completely independent project that has very positive reputation in Europe and in the whole world. We have direct connections to all participants of the international basketball, but I really want peace and agreement to come to our own country.
The limit harms young players
-There are stereotypes that a large number of the legionaries decreases the chances of the Russian players, especially young once, to show their capabilities in the clubs and as a result out national team becomes weaker.
- I will give one example. This year due to an absence of the clear rule about the number of the Russian players on the court I know that in case of emergency due to numerous injuries I can let 8 players on the floor: 5 foreigners and 3 experienced Russians and put the young players on other positions. I have well trained young players and let them on the floor in some meetings. In the next year if I am forced to have a guaranteed number of Russian players both on the court and in the application for the game I will have to give this practice up. The young players will lose their place in the roster and will be substituted by experienced players that play a key role in their clubs. There are other big issues about if they would be able to fit in our team and won’t spend time on the bench due to the limit. It is also far from being a fact that all the clubs will really need new players. They might be signed only to fulfill the regulation rather than be used by the coaches or fit into the tactical plans. I think that neither clubs with their competition in the championship, nor young generation will get any advantages. Have a look for example at the Final Eight. Our players with the Russian passports Deanna Nolan and Olga Arteshina spent 20-25 minutes on the court though EuroLeague doesn’t have any regulation or obligations. These people are worth of this time and they got it. That is the only right way for professional players to act.
- There were few cases when Russian players were absolutely confident about their place in the team and time on the floor due to the limit of the legionaries and had troubles with the discipline. I mean not only women’s basketball.
- Our Russian players don’t have troubles with the discipline. They try as hard as it is possible. But when the contract is guaranteed it is natural that sometimes a desire appears to give oneself a break. The legionaries fight for every ball and during the training they compete for their place on the court, for their contract, while Russians (I don’t speak about UMMC now) can feel relaxed about mentioned issues.
There will be 8-9 left out of 13
- Lange said that 90% of the players will compete in the next season
- For now I can’t tell about what is going on with the players. I can say that it is highly possible that 8-9 players out of 13 from the main roster will stay. Now we think about two more people that might join the team. It is possible that we might add the third one.
- Will they be Russian or foreign?
- It is 50 to 50. But many foreigners will have to leave because next year we will be allowed to have two foreign players less than we have now. Now we consider the possibility to offer one Russian and one foreigner to join us.
- After the Olympic Games President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin asked the Minister of Sports to consider the possibility of inviting foreign sportsmen and coaches. Vitaliy Mutko presented the volleyball league as an example where only 2 legionaries are allowed. What would you do if you have the same kind of limit?
- We are an organization that follows the law. But we would like to use men’s VTB League as an example of the limit’s policy. We are convinced that two disciplines of the same Olympic sport must live according to the same rules. In case we will have the volleyball type limitations it will be up to our shareholders if we are interested of this kind of rules or not. There is always a possibility to refuse to play the game if the rules don’t match what you need.