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Arvydas Sabonis steps down as head of Lithuania's basketball federation

Arvydas Sabonis
Eriko Ovčarenko / 15min nuotr. / Arvydas Sabonis
Šaltinis: BNS

Legendary Lithuanian basketball player Arvydas Sabonis is stepping down as president of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation. The news was announced at a press conference that followed Wednesday's meeting of the federation's executive committee.

LBF vice-president Antanas Guoga, who talked Sabonis into assuming the presidential post in the first place, and executive director Paulius Motiejūnas, who was invited to work for the federation by Sabonis, are also stepping down.

As a result, the fate of Jonas Kazlauskas, head coach of the Lithuanian men's national basketball team, is unclear, despite the fact that he has a valid contract until the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"It has been two years since I assumed the position. I have always wanted and still want only good basketball," Sabonis began his emotional speech at the press conference. "Something has been done. The results of some projects will be visible later. I am glad that our national team played very well this year and won silver medals. For this, I would like to thank our coaches and coach Jonas Kazlauskas who managed to do whatever he could in a short period of time."

Sabonis praised Kazlauskas and basketball players' determination but added that the head coach was under pressure since day one. He also slammed sports commentators and one basketball website, which was treated as a partner, for strongly criticizing the national team.

"Criticism is always welcome, but there were so many different statements this year. I came to work here because I wanted good basketball. Today I decided to hand in my resignation and end everything. I want everyone to think about the future. People come here to work and play, not for the money. They are sensitive, they try and give all their hearts. Sometimes you make it, sometimes you don't, and then they are humiliated. I really don't know why. I have handed in my resignation and will be waiting for all resignation procedures. I hate intrigues, don't know how to take part in them and I won't," Sabonis said.

Following his speech, an LBF representative noted that the LBF president can be fired by an extraordinary conference.

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