The fruitful meeting continued discussions dating back to last year regarding consistency between State business plans and BA's business plan, with a particular focus on integrating the National Basketball League and enhancing community engagement. It was followed up with a teleconference on 18 Feb 09, where the terms of the co-operative agreement with the States were discussed, leading to anticipation of a signed understanding by the end of April.
On Friday 13 Feb, an open briefing with interested parties looking to participate in the new 2009/10 national men's league was held at the BA offices in Sydney. The session was well attended by representatives from across the country. Deadline for submission of tenders is 27 Feb 09 and we remain confident of a positive response.
BA has been working proactively with Teams and broadcast partners to avert possible clashes in NBL and WNBL Finals fixtures. In consultation with our WNBL broadcaster, the ABC, we have tabled a number of possible options for the timing of the WNBL Grand Final and while the location of the match is yet to be determined by results BA will continue to proactively review scheduling to ensure we maximise exposure, attendance and promotion of the games. I wish those competing clubs good fortune during the 2009 Finals period and hope that we continue to get matches as vibrant as those seen this week in Perth and New Zealand.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that our Australian men's wheelchair team head coach Ben Ettridge has accepted our offer to fill the newly created role of National Wheelchair Athlete and Coach Development Manager. Ben will oversee and manage the National Wheelchair Intensive Training Program (NWITP) and will develop initiatives relating directly to the identification and development of wheelchair basketball athletes and coaches. He will continue to be the head coach of the Rollers and the reigning National Wheelchair Basketball League Champion Perth Wheelcats and will also develop the pathways between the NWITP, the national men's and women's wheelchair programs, national U23 programs and state based programs.
In related wheelchair program news, our Beijing Paralympic Bronze Medallist women's team, the Gliders, has begun its 2009 international program at the Osaka Cup in Japan, where it will compete against Canada, the United States and the host nation. The Gliders defeated the reigning Paralympic Gold Medallist USA team in a fantastic opening to the tournament yesterday and fell to Canada today.
Finally, please accept my heartfelt congratulations for your splendid fundraising efforts at every level of the sport in support of the victims of the Victorian bushfires. Teams and associations across the basketball family quickly mobilised to provide assistance and for those initiatives I offer my sincere gratitude.