MOSCOW, July 20 (R-Sport) - The coach of the Russian national men’s basketball team quit Saturday, apparently claiming his boss had undermined him.
Fotis Katsikaris, 46, had been in the post only eight months and his sudden departure causes huge instability ahead of September’s European championships.
A resignation letter purportedly written by Katsikaris was leaked to several Russian media outlets, addressed to acting Russian Basketball Federation president Yulia Anikeeva, who is accused of making Katsikaris’ position untenable.
“You are trying in every way to belittle me both as a person and as a coach. You create obstacles to my work,” the letter states.
Anikeeva responded in a website statement that “the federation sincerely regrets” the Greek coach’s resignation, adding that she disagreed “with the version of events stated by Katsikaris.”
The new interim coach will be Valery Karasev, who was only named as one of Katsikaris’ assistants on Thursday after leading Russia’s student team to the World University Games title.
A federation statement said Karasev would start preparing the team for the European championships, but did not say how long he was expected to stay. In a further twist, plans for a training camp to start Tuesday could fall apart because several players have yet to sign crucial insurance documents, a federation source told R-Sport.
The departure of Katsikaris follows months of feuding at the Russian Basketball Federation.
Anikeeva only took charge last week as the temporary replacement Andrei Krasnenkov, who resigned after losing the support of the executive board.
Anikeeva is the deputy CEO of Eastern Europe’s VTB United League, with which Krasnenkov had frosty relations.
She is expected to run in upcoming elections for federation president, with opposition from former WNBA champion Svetlana Abrosimova.