SINERGI's Managing Partner & Swiss Basketball's President secures partnership with Tissot

Threatened to step down from all international competitions in 2016, the men's elite Swiss Basketball national team will finally be able to compete in next year's EuroBasket 2017 qualifiers thanks to a last-minute partnership with Tissot orchestrated by the Federations' President, Giancarlo Sergi, who is also SINERGI's Managing Partner.

Neuchâtel - 2nd December 2015 - Petar Aleksic has received the green light to continue as Switzerland head coach following a defining week for Swiss Basketball, which was ushered in by a crisis but culminated into the start of an exciting new era.

The 47-year-old tactician assumed the reins of the Swiss senior men's national team in 2013, prior to the EuroBasket 2015 1st Qualifying Tournament.

With Aleksic at the helm, Switzerland registered a famous win over Russia in their EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualification Round opener, albeit eventually they could not overpower both Italy and the Russians to reach the showpiece tournament.

Up until Tuesday, it looked highly unlikely for Aleksic or his players to get a third try at qualifying for EuroBasket.

However, in a surprising turn of events, Switzerland not only managed to assure their participation in the qualification campaign for EuroBasket 2017 but also discovered just how deep the pool of passionate supporters for basketball in the country is.

Late last week basketball made the headlines in Swiss media, but not for the reasons fans and national team players would have wanted. Reports emerged that the country's basketball federation was contemplating putting the senior men's - as well as both men and women youth teams programmes - on hold in 2016, due to financial restrains.

The Swiss international players set up a four-member committee under senior national team captain Dusan Mladjan which met with the federation on Monday to discuss possible solutions to the issue.

"We demonstrated that we are attached to the national team jersey and that we want to play in the EuroBasket 2017 qualifiers, for which we had to register by 15 December," he explained.

Swiss Basketball President Giancarlo Sergi was pleased with the immediate reaction of the national team core and revealed that 18 international players had vowed to sign a letter confirming their availability for the EuroBasket qualifiers, in case the program did not get interrupted.

Everybody in the Swiss basketball community was following developments closely and FIBA Global Partner Tissot took notice immediately.

The Swiss watchmaker offered to sponsor the federation and thus provide the necessary funding for the smooth continuation of the national team programme.

Tissot President François Thiebaud, was actually so preoccupied for the future of the national team that he called Sergi three times during the meeting with the players.

"We are partners of the NBA, the Chinese CBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA)," he said. "How could then we, as a Swiss company, not support Swiss basketball? It would be inconceivable."

On Tuesday, Swiss Basketball and Tissot officially announced the sponsorship agreement.

"I would like to congratulate both our (Swiss Basketball) president and the Tissot president for working out this solution," said Mladjan. "At this moment in time we have the best national team in the history of Swiss basketball and it would a pity if we were not able to enjoy it."

After staring into the abyss, Swiss Basketball has not only come out stronger but are now more confident that ever that even their two big stars, Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets and Thabo Sefolosha of the Atlanta Hawks will be more willing than before to contribute to the national team efforts.

"We will take all necessary steps to convince them by presenting them our new project," Sergi said. "Our new partner is well-established in the NBA and that should facilitate things further."

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