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Greek basketball champions call for safer roads

Published: 29 June 2009


Greek basketball champions lent support to the road safety cause today as they called for “team work and fair play on basketball courts and on our roads”, at a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) conference in Halkida, Greece (25-26 June 2009).

A declaration signed by national basketball champions as well as George Vassilakopoulos, President of the European Basketball Federation (FIBA Europe), the Greek national team coach Thanassis Papadimitriou and former national coach Kostas Politis, brings the idea of team spirit to driving, concluding:

“Foul play always ends up hurting someone. Let us start now to work as a team and play fair in traffic. As athletes, it is up to us to enforce it on the court. But it is up to all of us to practice it on the road.”

The basketball players, represented by Franciscos Alvertis for the men’s national basketball team and by Vina Malti for the women’s national team, underlined that on the road, as on the basketball court, there are players, a field and rules that must be followed to avoid accidents and, on the road particularly, prevent disability and death.

The basketball community is no stranger to road traffic crashes. The legendary Serbian basketball player Radivoj Korac died in a car crash at age 30 in 1969. More recently, Drazen Petrovic, a Croatian national team player, was killed on the German motorway in 1993, four and a half months before his 29th birthday. He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

“Basketball and road safety are not so unrelated”, said Vassilis Skountis, a well-known sports journalist and TV broadcaster in Greece. “They are both about a journey – a journey towards safety through respect of rules and fair behaviour.”

The basketball declaration will be signed by the entire Greek national basketball team in July. It will be brought to European matches for other countries’ national teams to sign and hopefully it will make it all the way to the world championships.

For more information, please see press release ECE/TRANS/09/P05 about the conference, or contact us: infotransport@unece.org. The basketball declaration can be downloaded from http://www.unece.org/trans/roadsafe/unda_halkida.html

Ref: ECE/TRANS/09/P06

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