Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O’Byrne has been voted in as President of the newly titled Developing Countries Commission at FIBA Europe, the governing body for the sport across the continent.
The move comes just two weeks after O’Byrne topped the poll in last month’s FIBA Europe elections. It is a significant step up in terms of Ireland’s reputation at super national governing bodies following on from the success of Warren Deutrom from Cricket and Liam Harbison from Paralympics Ireland in recent years.
There have been a few bumps in the road along the way with Pat Hickey and John Delaney also both taking up high office at European level before falling to earth.
O’Byrne’s appointment to the Commission, which has up until this point been known as the Small Countries Commission will be for the next four years.
The Commission organises FIBA European Championships for participating countries and allocates host countries for the tournaments.
Ireland hosted the 2018 FIBA Women’s European Championship for Small Countries in Cork last summer, the success of which undoubtedly boosted Ireland’s and O’Byrne’s standing within the organisation.
Equally importantly, the commission oversees and lobbies within FIBA for financial and logistical support to allow continued development to occur.
“I am honoured and delighted to gain this important role,” said O’Byrne after the meeting in Munich.
“I am immediately pleased to get a first ‘win’ with my suggestion to remove the ‘Small Nations’ label to be replaced with the far more accurate ‘Developing Countries’ title. I hope to get some more wins for this cohort of countries, which of course includes Ireland.”