Isabel Iturbe will be the new president of Bilbao Basket

The third woman in history to lead an elite basketball club. It was the natural replacement, since he was the maximum responsible after leaving the Mauraza focus.


Bilbao Basket will announce important changes to its board of directors tomorrow. A professional group, very reformed, that will direct the ship after a turbulent time that was one step away from causing the disappearance of the entity. Isabel Iturbe takes the reins as president. He is the fifth occupant of the chair since the club's founding in 2000, after Jon Arrinda, Davalillo, Savovic and Mauraza.

Isabel and Carlos Del Campo are the only survivors of the transfer of powers that took place in May 2014 after leaving the ship Gorka Arrinda. By statutes of the club they had to renew their positions in November of last year, and they did so with a full vote of the assembled shareholders. In addition, it was approved to extend the term of office of the directors to six years. In that distant appointment with Arrinda in 2014, with the tug of war to take the reins of a club dying due to an astronomical debt, an alternative management group was formed that ended up forming part of a new board of directors: Juan Elejalde, Iñaki Calvo , Carlos Del Campo, Isabel Iturbe, Enrique Guzmán, Estitxu Ibarretxe, Xabier Jon Davalillo and Piru Azua. Years later, another formed by Koldo Mauraza, Isabel Iturbe, Álvaro Unamuno, Fernando Suárez, Iñigo Cisneros, Carlos Alonso, Alejandro Beitia, Oscar Zabala and Carlos del Campo gave way. In 2017, Sofía Fernández, Nahia Egaña, Henar Arestizabal and Javier Larrañaga entered and before that, Carlos Alonso and Fernando Suárez left

Iturbe, until now on the Foundation's payroll, has been the visible face of the project in recent years, once Mauraza stepped aside. Former basketball player of 1.75, she stepped into the elite although anecdotally, she is from Bilbao, from the Deusto district, graduated in Biological Sciences and has worked as a food analyst. He studied in Madrid and Granada. She has a Master's degree in business management, another in applied environmental management in the company, and she is vice president of the Association of Businesswomen and Directors of Bizkaia that helps women entrepreneurs. He ended up focusing on training projects and having a managerial and commercial profile.

She is the third president in the Spanish basketball elite, after Pepita Mercé, who led L'Hospitalet for six months 37 years ago, and Nekane Arzallus, who in February 2019, after four years, closed her stage as president of the Gipuzkoa Basket, although she maintains her ties to the team as a counselor. He left the post to occupy positions of political responsibility. Of course, she was part of the board of directors of the San Sebastian club since 2007 and had previously been vice president, like Iturbe.

During this six-year journey, Bilbao basket met with the interest of a group related to Gorka Arrinda to try to regain control of the club. There was also an approach to Joaquín Salazar, a figure linked to Biscayan basketball, to collaborate and support the project, and an attempt by a business group to enter into the latest expansion. A bankruptcy process was overcome, a loan was requested to get out of the quagmire and a recent capital increase has been undertaken to set up this new council. The arrival of the Dominion firm allowed an important economic injection and facilitated the exhaustive control of the accounts. In addition, the broad package of shares left by Gorka Arrinda was diluted among the social mass.

Bilbao Basket shareholders approved a capital increase of 1.2 million euros nine months ago to stabilize the financial situation of the club, through the issuance of 108,000 shares suitable for those who already had a title Part of these resources are used to pay of the privileged debt of three million euros, which was due to begin to be paid this summer. That amount is distributed between 2.34 million euros owed to the Treasury, 496,000 to Caja Rural and 235,000 to Fogasa. The payment with the Tax Agency will be paid in six years. Following the dramatic demotion, there was a series of dismissals of club professionals.

Nominal patronage is one of the issues facing the new council. RETAbet supported in very troubled times with a long contract but the Government has promoted the prohibition of bookmakers in professional clubs, something that may be softened in view of the crisis caused by the pandemic. Now Iturbe must face the challenge of stabilizing Bilbao basket and finally letting go of the hardship. Pedja Savovic has returned to the club to occupy a position, that of general manager, which has been moving too quickly lately: Eduardo Garate, Diego Saenz and Javier Barcala in five years. All this supported by an incalculable heritage: the faithful and broad social mass and a Miribilla that is a pavilion envied by many ACB entities.

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