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FIBA Fairy Tales

In this article, I will put some FIBA officials' words under the microscope in order to find out what is FIBA's position is about the game.

FIBA Executive Director Borislav Stancovic.

In "Story of a Game" video he says:

The intervention of Mr. Jones at that time was absolutely legal because he was the president of the technical commission, and the table made mistakes. His intervention is to correct the mistakes of the table.

First, FIBA Secretary General Stancovic confuses Technical Commission with Technical Committee:

Technical Commission and Technical Committee are two completely different bodies with completely different duties and I find it hard to believe that FIBA Secretary General doesn't know the difference. Why would Mr. Stancovic confuse people? Probably, in order to make it more difficult to find the truth.

Here are my arguments:

  1. The rules clearly state that "The referee shall have power to make decisions on any point not specifically covered in the rules.". Until another document is presented stating otherwise, this is the rule.
  2. Mr. Jones himself "... admitted he had no authority to intervene.". That is a citation from this article.
  3. FIBA's Basketball glossary says:

    Technical Committee Official body responsible for:

    1. Supervision and approval of playing installations and technical equipment,

    2. Establishing the competition schedule,

    3. Appointment of referees and approval of Table Officials (Timekeeper, Scorer, Assistant Scorer and 24 second Operator)

    There is nothing said about any intervention during the game.

  4. Stankovich's argument implies that

    The president of the Technical Committee can intervene at any time if the table makes a mistake.

    That's exactly the duty of the referees. The people behind the table are the referees' helpers. They are under the referees' command. No one can intervene and correct the table's mistakes over the referees' head.

  5. Another argument, though not the strongest, is that if Technical Committee's duty was to watch the table and correct the table worker's mistakes, they would be sitting directly behind the table -- not behind the Soviet bench, where they were actually sitting.
  6. Finally, let's imagine (however hard it is) that Mr. Stancovic's words are truth and William Jones stepped in to correct a mistake. The mistake that needed a correction was a time-out that was not given to Soviets. Did Mr. Jones correct that? No, because time-out was not given even after his intervention! Whole Mr. Stancovic's logical construction falls apart - Jones intervened to correct a mistake, but he didn't.

Stancovic's statement contradicts rules, logic, even William Jones himself.

Alistair Ramsay, a member of the Technical Committee in 1972 Olympics.

In "03 Seconds From Gold" video he said that William Jones, when he was young, served in Polish army and fought against Russians, so he didn't like them. That is supposed to prove that Jones' decisions were not biased, at least towards Soviets.

When I saw that at first time, I believed that it's true. Now I decided to find some grounds to that episode of Mr. Jones's life. Let's look at Jones' short biography:

Born on 5th October 1906...

# Bachelor of Science (Springfield College, U.S.A.): 1928

# Attended the Deutsche Hochschule für Leibesübungen, in Berlin, Germany (1929 and 1930), the Niels Bukh School of Physical Education, in Denmark (1929) and the Royal Institute in Stockholm, Sweden (1930)

# Certificate in Pedagogy (University of Geneva, Switzerland): 1930

# Director of Physical Education in Rome's YMCA: 1931-1939

# Co-Founded FIBA on 18th June 1932, in Geneva, Switzerland

# Secretary General of FIBA: 1932-1976

# Orchestrated the admission of basketball into the Olympic program as of the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games

Now let's take a look at the history of Russian-Polish wars. There were two in twentieth century, during World War I and World War II. In the first one, an armistice was signed on October 12, 1920. Jones had just turned 14. In order to participate in the war, he would have had to join the Polish army at 13. Even though that is theoretically possible, it seems unlikely, especially for a foreigner.

Take a look at the picture that is provided as evidence:

You can see that this man is in his mid-twenties. He certainly is older than 13 or 14.

As for WWII, consider Jones' biography up to 1939 (when Soviets occupied half of Poland). It seems absurd that this person suddenly would decide to serve for some foreign army. He had to go there in advance, because the whole war lasted about two weeks. Then Poland just ceased to exist until the end of WWII.

In my opinion, the whole story of Jones's participation in Russian-Polish war is Alistair Ramsay's fantasy.

Update: This statement of Alistair Ramsay appeared to be a pure lie. There were two pictures shown in the video (you can see one of them here), both taken from William Jones' biography, printed in 1998 by FIBA. The text in the book depicts Jones' work with soldiers of 2nd Polish infantry division located in internment camp in Switzerland during years 1940-1944. That's when he wore a uniform of British liaison officer, two orders in the picture were given him by Polish government. Jones never participated in any war against Soviet Union, as well as against any other country, ever.

The book have been published in 1998, the video have been aired in 2002. Ramsay new the truth, but decided to fabricate a false story.

Alistair Ramsay again.

In ":03 Seconds From Gold", Alistair Ramsay came up with an even better story, this time about Ferenc Hepp, the Chairman of the Appellate Jury in the 1972 Olympics.

He stated that during the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, Hepp's family was murdered by Soviet troops. Therefore, Hepp hated the Russians.

Let's try to shine some light on this story, too.

Hepp was born in 1909, so, in 1956, during the Soviet invasion, he was 47. His family members could be his old parents and/or his wife and children. It is reasonable to suggest that these family members didn't participate in the street fights against the Soviet troops. So, they must have been killed between November 4th and 10th, when there were many civilian victims.

What was Hepp's response to these tragic events? Six days later, on November 16, he appeared in Melbourne as a Hungarian delegate in the World Congress of Physical Education. Several days after, he started working in the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics as a member of the Technical Committee of the basketball tournament, in which the Hungarian team did not participate, but the Soviet Union team did.

After his return to Hungary, he learned that the Soviets had put a puppet government in command, but he felt comfortable working with this government. Every so often, the Hungarian government issued documents containing a list of government and Party functionaries. Ferenc Hepp's name appeared in these documents (Example).

In 1972, Hepp allegedly hated the Soviets, but during the next year he visited the Soviet Union as a Commissioner of a European Cup game (I assume that nobody forced him), where he gave a number of interviews about the Olympics' final game in the Russian language.

All of these facts contradict the "hatred" theory. That's too bad for the theory.


I believe that FIBA functionaries, in order to be more convincing, generate some fairy tales. That has an opposite effect. Now I'm sure that FIBA functionaries know that what happened during that game was wrong and are trying to cover it up.