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Welsch and Stepanova excited for TIME-OUT project

PRAGUE - FIBA EuroBasket 2017 bound Jiri Welsch and women’s basketball legend Maria Stepanova have expressed their excitement at being participants in the first intake of the new TIME-OUT project.

The TIME-OUT project is targeted at recently retired, or soon-to-be retired basketball players who will work towards earning a master's degree in sport administration.

The scheme is being run by FIBA with co-funding from the Erasmus+ program of the European Union, and in conjunction with Northumbria University in Newcastle, United Kingdom – as well as the University of Physical Education in Budapest, Hungary and the TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) in the UK.

Welsh and Stepanova have been speaking at a press conference during the FIBA EuroBasket Women 2017 Final Round in Prague, where the 80 participants on the scheme including the likes of Bostjan Nachbar and Nevriye Yilmaz, have been congregating for initial seminars.

Czech Republic captain Welsh commented: “For me, it is a great honor to be with all of the legends participating in this program. Help with the transition from the sporting career into the 'second life' it is an opportunity – and that is the key word. I have spent 21 years in professional basketball only thinking about the plays and now it is time to learn something else. All the players should be thankful for this and take advantage of it.”

Former Russian star Stepanova said: "It is an interesting project which I can use to improve my knowledge for the future and it’s a big chance to learn new things with the basketball family."

Emphasizing the importance of the project, FIBA Executive Director Europe, Kamil Novak was quick to outline why it means so much.

He stated: "This is a first step and is a unique chance and privilege to be involved in this first program. In just 18 months, players could end up with a master’s degree. I am happy that we now have something that we can present and offer to some of our players to prepare them for their new working life after basketball.

"We are starting to think of follow-up editions already, since players are retiring every year. We want to have this project to manage for many years, since we are giving players a positive light at the end of their careers.

"Crucially, there are also different levels within the program which is tailor-made for each group of participants as everyone is at different stages depending on their previous education."

Finally, Fraser McLeay, Head of Strategic Marketing Management - Northumbria University stated how much he would be looking forward to the start of the initiative: "We are hugely excited to be working on this and it is all about transformational leadership and change – allowing the participants to learn how to take responsibility and maximize opportunities.

"It gives the athletes a chance to change their career and in a similar project with rugby players, we have had people launching businesses and working effectively for Federations. The project will focus on areas around strategy, research, management and business. There is distance learning, but lots of interaction and blended learning as well, with tutors, professors and of course the other players."

For more on the TIME-OUT project click HERE.

About FIBA
FIBA (fiba.basketball) - the world governing body for basketball - is an independent association formed by 213 National Basketball Federations throughout the world. It is recognised as the sole competent authority in basketball by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
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