Kaspars Cyprus Photo: Zane Bitere / LETAAlthough the active basketball season in Latvia ends at the beginning of spring due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Latvian Basketball Union (LBS) has no shortage of work to do and issues to address.“Sportazinas.com” invited LBS Secretary General Kaspars Cyprus to a conversation, where we asked the most topical questions about what is happening in the basketball family – the issue of the men’s national team manager, budget situation in the organization and potential changes in FIBA European Championship qualification, as well as other news.What is the situation with the involvement of the general manager of the men’s team?The issue of the general manager of the men ‘s national unit is the President of LBS andthe Secretary-General and the Management Board, but previous experience suggestsprudent in assessing all aspects of the responsibilities and the real possibilities not only to promise but also to do so.Given the specific situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, the priority for LBS this summer is to organizethe work process of the state unit, without emphasizing the titles of positions. Currentthe work is going according to plan – since June 1, we have provided men’s national unitstraining of participants and candidates, helping players to stay in shape and prepareseasons. There was and is communication with those players who do not participatetraining, as well as their representatives. Currently, planning is very complicated Covid19 situation as it isthere are serious concerns that the impact of the Covid19 pandemic in Europe and the world will continue.How serious are the concerns that FIBA will move the February “window” of EC qualifications? And how can this affect LBS’s cooperation with sponsors?Definitely, it would be even more advantageous for us if FIBA canceled the next “window” of November, because that iswould allow us to play the February “window” games at the beginning of the summer. Thatwould certainly give a potentially greater opportunity to attract players close to the optimal line-up.Of course, it will be a huge blow if the national team games cannot be played at all. Currently on and around thisThe COVID19 situation has too many questions and there are definitely more than answers. Agreements withsupporters are concluded for the European Championship cycle and funds are reserved for theseneeds. If there are no games, no money is spent.FIBA has already stated – if the participants of one EC qualifying tournament will not be able to play due to the pandemic for some reason – or because when returning home they will have to observe two weeks of self-isolation, but the players will have to go to their clubs, or for some other reason. February games will be postponed.It has already been said publicly that the LBS hall project has started. What LBS management can do to promote this project, does it all depend on political will?The management of LBS has already taken many steps and we have been heard even at the government level.It goes without saying that LBS does not have the opportunity to earn enough money to build one itselfdreams. FIBA also does not have the resources to support an infrastructure projectimplementation in individual countries. Without a state, municipal or private investor to realize suchproject is impossible. It is a great pleasure that we have achieved that now, not only thatthe basketball community understands how much this project is necessary for development and growth.Our initiative is also supported by other team sports federation federations, because Riga is catastrophicthere is a lack of space for international games.The hall is planned with seats for three thousand spectators. Didn’t you think you needed more? Of course, we would like to have tens of thousands, countless basketball practice fields and a 5-star hotel inside the complex. But the real possibilities must be understood. Thanks to the Riga City Council for the allocated plot of land in an easily accessible place, but its parameters do not allow to build another “Arena Riga”. The base would primarily serve the implementation of the training process for both young people who implement a professionally oriented learning process, and is needed not only for the eight basketball teams organized by LBS every year. Currently, Riga is in a very sad situation – a large part of the 2,000 students of the basketball school “Riga” are forced to train in old halls in unsuitable conditions. The three gyms available on a daily basis will be a significant relief. In addition, it can be used for games of different levels and, if necessary, for international competitions in other sports games.LBS introduced regulations that must be met by all young people – sports schoolsrepresentatives. The question is – what are these regulations and what will you do when someone can’tcarry out? And how would you refer to coaches?Control standards are not a new initiative – they have had to be passed by everyone for many yearsstudents who train in vocational sports in educational institutions in order to be able toto receive co-financing from the Ministry of Education and Science for the next training groupyear. Over time, the content of the regulations has become obsolete, so they need to be adapted to newer onesbasketball requirements. Already developed and approved technical readinesscontrol norms for different age groups, Oskar Ernstein has begun to develop physicalpreparedness standardsRegulations of the Cabinet of Ministers 508 already determine what happens to learners andcompleted groups that cannot meet the performance criteria of that group. Tocompliance is the responsibility of vocational education institutions. LBS is not repressiveauthority, our own goal is not to check the quality of control performance in all sportsschools. The control norms are a landmark for both coaches and players who want qualitywork, train and progress. Coaches commission representatives and youth national team coachesoptional visits to sports schools to assess the operation of control standards,what changes would be useful, etc. But we prefer to stimulate quality work(for example, involving better-performing coaches in national team work) rather than punishing.The LBS sets benchmarks for what students of a certain age should be able tothe educational institution could receive co-financing from the Ministry of Education and Science.The norms are not exaggerated – in practice it has been proven that they can be complied with, unlessplayed basketball, but also purposefully worked on the basis of technical elementslearning.Issues related to the co-financing of vocational education institutions in sportfrom the salaries of the state and coaches is determined by the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers 508. If the players cannot comply with the regulations en masse, there are several options – to train more and more purposefully (also to evaluate the coach’s qualification) or students have to seriously think about the choice of sport and look for an occupation that suits their abilities. Of course, the municipality can continue to co-finance this group, taking into account social factors (the need to employ children, etc.)The Latvian Cup has been created. What are LBS’s plans to make it a “buyable” product?Latvian Cup pros – for each game each team will have to go with maximum concentration, because in the playoff tournament each game can be the last. Even amateur and youth teams have the opportunity to compete to the best of Latvia’s top clubs, whose visits to the regions will certainly arouse great interest. There will be an additional opportunity to pay attention to basketball in the middle of the season, because the final game is planned to be held as a real basketball festival – with elements previously used in the Star Games. Involvement in the fight for the Latvian Cup increases the opportunities for LBL2 and LBL3 clubs to attract supporters. The marketing department will definitely have to do a lot of work to increase the interest in the Latvian Cup. But clubs will play a huge role – both in making their games festive and in providing sporting intrigue – interesting games and surprises. League Director [Kristapa Janičenoka] and LBS’s vision goes hand in hand, as it is the LBS league director who is responsible for this project.