Riga TTT is one of the most famous and titled basketball clubs in Europe. It gained its brilliance and bright uniform during the times of the Soviet Union, but in independent Latvia, the list of achievements has not been nearly as grandiose. However, the modern TTT has also been the undisputed flagship of local women’s basketball in recent years, as well as a workplace for many players of the national team. This summer, there were reasonable fears that the famous TTT brand may disappear into nothingness due to the hesitation of the Riga City Council. Autumn brought a ray of hope, but everything is still a work in progress, although the beginning of the season is already knocking at the door.
The Riga TTT basketball club was founded on November 5, 1958, when a sports hall was opened on the 2nd floor of the paint shop of the Tram and Trolleybus Trust, where the team trained. In its heyday in the Soviet years, TTT won the Euroleague 18 times, and the USSR Championship 21 times.
The face of the club for many years was probably the greatest basketball player in the world, Ulyana Semyonova. The team was once also represented by former Latvian Radio sports journalist Inita Kresa-Katkovska.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, he founded the club “TTT Riga”, which is a continuation of the famous TTT. This club has become the champion of Latvia 18 times, but in recent years it has participated in the FIBA Euroleague.
Until now, the legal status of TTT was a foundation. In May of this year, in connection with an illegal donation to the club, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Office imposed administrative fines on 49 officials of Riga City Council and “Rīgas satiksme”.
Council members took part in the adoption of a decision, which allowed the municipal capital company to donate financial funds to the foundation, disregarding the limit of the maximum permissible donation amount set by the Law on the Prevention of Waste of Public Person’s Financial Funds and Property. This law stipulates that a capital company may donate no more than 20% of the previous year’s profit to associations or foundations. TTT donated a quarter of a million more last year.
On July 20, the Riga City Council decided to liquidate the foundation “Basketbola klubs “TTT-Rīga”” and to create an association that will enable the club to operate more efficiently in the future.
On September 6, the liquidation of the foundation began, and on September 9, the founding meeting of the association was held. The team has applied for participation in the Latvian Championship and the Baltic League. It is true that solving the legal nuances so late caused the team to remain without a start in the Euroleague. Currently, it has neither a head coach nor players.
At the founding meeting of the association, Juri Švanderas, the head of the Administrative Department of the Finance Department of the Riga City Council, who also worked at the foundation, was elected as the chairman of its board for three years, while Normunds Narvaiš, deputy chairman of the “Rīgas satiksme” board, was elected as a member of the board.
Švanders admitted to Latvijas Radio that the process could have gone faster, but he was in no hurry to praise the capital’s city hall for his own jobs. The situation is unprecedented and more than belatedly solved, because currently the local women’s basketball league cannot create a game calendar because it is waiting for TTT.
The situation is still amusing, because there is neither an official document on the recognition of the association, nor the players who will make up the team, nor the head coach. For almost half a year, Mārtiņš Gulbis, the current head coach of the team, has been “feeding on promises”. He was in a similar situation several years ago, when the “Jūrmala” basketball club eventually broke up. Gulbis is said to have verbally agreed with some players, but does not understand why everything has been delayed for so long.
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