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Local News Summary of September, 8th

  • BVB-million: Hans-Peter Wessels hits back
  • Federer: «I have never played on my best level»

BVB-million: Hans-Peter Wessels hits back

The tram-world was put back in the spotlight at 3.15pm yesterday afternoon. All questions were answered in the right way and Hans-Peter Wessels, who led the construction department's coup, succeeded.

It was an extraordinary event that the government gave a press conference about one single issue. But this time it was justified, Hans-Peter Wessels told the press at the construction department's multi-purpose hall at Dufourstrasse on Thursday. The assembled journalists were intensely interested and the hall was full. The members of the Audit Committee of the Grand Council (GPK) had serious questions to ask of the member of government. His department was accused of neglecting their obligatory supervision towards the public transport company (BVB). Mr Wessels was also said to have promised one million Swiss francs to France, against the law. 

The BVB-million was meant to be spent on the construction of a park & ride facility and was connected to the extension of tramline number 3. Mr Wessels was also made responsible for the large amount of sick leave and misogyny among tram workers. The parliament also joined the criticism and plan to debate the trams next week. 


Today, Hans-Peter Wessels launched a counter-attack: The issue with the million francs was now cut and dry. The deal with France was formalised according to the regulations and added to the contracts concerning the extension of tram no. 3. Hans-Peter Wessels was supported by the intermediary member of the board of directors of BVB, Kurt Altermatt and the former MP and board of directors of BVB, Mirjam Ballmer. And Kurt Altermatt had good news for Wessels: Of course, the BVB would transfer the million francs. No problem at all. Everything was fine. 

The discussion arose after the former board of directors had opposed this transfer of money since a public company was not allowed to transfer money without getting anything in return. But now new people are at the helm and there is no problem. At the media conference yesterday afternoon, the BVB representatives and the member of government countered every reproach step by step. The proposals of the last Audit Committee report have consequently been implemented. And also the new suggestions were taken seriously and are to be implemented. 

«Avanti» but a bit slower 

The consequence is that the «Avanti» restructuring programme will slow down. Employees should be better involved into the «reform process». However, Kurt Altermatt clarified that the slowing down of the programme did not mean giving up on it altogether. The BVB should become a competitive public transport company. 

One thing became clear quickly. The Basler media will lose a topic with the BVB-million. It also becomes clear that Mr Wessels won the battle for his political survival. He got support from Mirjam Ballmer who said that she had never been contacted for the commission's report and therefore a few ambiguous statements had sneaked into the report. After months of tough wrangling, Mr Wessels has prevailed. And the government does not even have to declare itself as the critique on the president of the Audit Commission and party friend, Tobit Schäfer. 

Federer: «I have never played on my best level» 

Roger Federer's disappointment about his exit from the US Open after being beaten by Juan Martin Del Potro is limited. «I never had the feeling that I played at my best level in this tournament,» he said.

Roger Federer, how do you explain your defeat? 

«It happens, sometimes things don't work out for you. I didn't play badly but I can play better. If I had won I would say that the third set was decisive. Now however I think that not just the failed set points in the tie-break were decisive. I left out too many chances and manoeuvred myself into uncomfortable situations in which I needed luck. Juan Martin played well in the right moments and I maybe even helped him sometimes.» 

Your preparation to the tournament was hampered by your back problems. 

«I don't like to talk about these problems since I don't want to be a bad loser. Juan Martin was the better one among us today, especially in the big points.» 

The wins in five sets in the first two rounds were not helpful towards an improvement. 

«The preparation and the way the tournament went for me surely contributed to the verdict. After the first rounds I didn't feel so good. Throughout the entire tournament I never had the feeling to play on my best level. I did my best but never found the right rhythm. I didn't trust my serves and returns. I wasn't so convinced about my service like I usually am and at the forehand I never knew exactly where the ball would go. My fate was in the hands of the adversary; this was different in Wimbledon and the Australian Open. I wasn't good enough here – not in the head, in the body, and in the match.» 

Is the defeat against Del Potro more frustrating since it would not come to the semi-final duel against Rafael Nadal about world rank 1? 

«I did not think about this possible duel; it's the journalists who think about that! It was a tough tournament and I only thought about the game today. In the rounds before I stumbled too often to be able to look directly in front of me. Therefore I am happy to have reached the quarterfinals. It has been a good year so far anyway. Of course it is a shame but Juan Martin deserved the win more. I can live without being no. 1.»

What comes next? 

«I feel that I need a break which I will get now. To be honest, I wasn't so sure that I could play the US Open at all. I must recover now and train well. This will allow me to play well in the end of the year – just as I am used to. My plan is to play the Laver Cup, Shanghai, Basel, Paris, and the ATP-finals in London, nothing has changed in this regard.»