The International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) have expressed shock at the passing of Patrick Baumann, a member of the IOC, and Secretary General of FIBA.
Baumann died of heart attack in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the venue of the ongoing Youth Olympic Games. He was aged 51 years. IOC president, Thomas Bach, described Baumann as a central figure in the Olympic movement.
A former player, coach, and referee, Patrick Baumann dedicated his life to basketball and to the sports community. He was Deputy Secretary-General (1995-2002) of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), and then unanimously appointed as Secretary-General by the FIBA Central Board in 2002, a role he had held since. He was greatly instrumental in the transformation and growth of the sport in the international basketball community, successfully supporting the popularisation of 3×3 basketball, for instance.
Bach said: “This is a great shock, which has hit us all very hard. We can hardly believe this terrible news. Particularly since, even today, we have seen him working hard, as we always knew him, for the sport he loved. We lose a young and sympathetic leader full of hope who was standing for the future of sport. Our thoughts are with his wife, his children, and his family.”
To honour the memory of Patrick Baumann, the IOC President has asked for the Olympic flag to be flown at half-mast at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne and at the IOC headquarters at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires for three days. The IOC will also hold a memorial in the Youth Olympic Village.
An IOC Member since 2007, Baumann had been recently appointed as a member (2016-2017), then Chair (2017) of the Evaluation Commission for the Games of XXXIII Olympiad in 2024, then Vice-Chair of the Coordination Commission for the Games of XXXIII Olympiad Paris 2024 after the French capital won the right to host the Olympic Games 2024. He was also Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission Los Angeles 2028, helping the two host cities to work closely with each other.
A Swiss national, he was also President of the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee.
Baumann had continuously and actively participated in the IOC’s development throughout his mandate, as a member in the following IOC Commissions: Evaluation for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in 2008 (as an IF representative) (2000-2001), Coordination for the Games of the XXX Olympiad London 2012 (2007-2012), International Relations (2008-2014), Sport and Law (2010-2014), Evaluation for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in 2020 (2013), Entourage (2014-2015), Marketing (2014-), Athletes’ Entourage (2015-2018) and Legal Affairs (2017-2018).
Able to speak five languages, Patrick Baumann had a remarkable academic record: an MBA from the Business School of the University of Chicago, a Master’s in Sports Administration Management (MEMOS) from the University of Lyon in France and a law degree from the University of Lausanne.
“A man of numerous talents, as a lawyer he always demonstrated a great sense of responsibility: he was appointed to the International Advisory Board of the World Academy of Sport in 2009, had been a member of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS) since 2010, and was also a member of the Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA),” Bach said.
Baumann was elected as a Council member of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) in 2011 and re-elected in 2015; he was elected as President of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) in 2016, and as President of SportAccord in 2017.
A distraught FIBA President, Horacio Muratore, said:
“On behalf of the entire FIBA family, I wish to express our deepest sympathies and pass on our condolences to Patrick’s wife Patricia, their family and loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this very difficult time.
“Patrick was a lot more than FIBA’s Secretary General and an IOC member. He was a very close friend of mine as well as to countless people in the basketball family and the wider sport community.
“Under his leadership, FIBA moved forward by leaps and bounds, with the organization modernizing itself to the extent of becoming a model which fellow International Federations followed.
“Patrick was at the forefront of FIBA making radical changes to its governance structure, successfully building and moving into its own state-of-the-art Headquarters outside of Geneva as well as launching 3×3, its urban discipline which became a part of basketball’s program at the Olympics. He was also instrumental in the process of ‘ONE FIBA’, the coming together of all of FIBA’s Regional Offices into one corporate group, with everyone looking and heading in the same direction for the best interests of our beloved sport. Last but not least, he led the way in the creation and implementation of FIBA’s New Competition System.
“For all of this and for so much more, FIBA is forever indebted to Patrick. Without doubt we would not be where we are today were it not for everything that he did. His unwavering commitment, tireless work ethic and pure passion for basketball mean he will forever have his place in FIBA’s history.”
Basketball Champions League CEO Patrick Comninos said: “Patrick Baumann was instrumental in the creation of the Basketball Champions League with a vision to bring a high-level competition to clubs all across Europe. His determination and commitment towards this goal will continue to guide us in our daily lives and our long-term approach. On behalf of the entire BCL family, I would like to extend our most sincere condolences to his wife and family.”
A Swiss national born on August 5, 1967, Baumann was a former player, coach, and referee who first joined FIBA as a lawyer in 1994 and was appointed FIBA Deputy Secretary-General in 1995.
In 2002, he was unanimously appointed FIBA Secretary-General by the FIBA Central Board. As such, he became only the third FIBA Secretary General, after Dr. William Jones and Borislav Stankovic.
Baumann officially started his term of office in 2003, a position he held until his death.