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Jun
0

FIBA Europe confirm Ukraine won’t host EuroBasket 2015

FIBA Europe confirmed what most observers have been expecting for months earlier today. EuroBasket 2015 will not be hosted by Ukraine and instead be moved to an alternative nation or nations.

In addition to confirming the move, FIBA Europe left the door open for Ukraine to host in 2017. EuroBasket 2015 will also see a change in format, with the competition become a straight knock-out tournament after the opening group stage.

Here’s the full statement from FIBA:

The Board of FIBA Europe has decided to relocate EuroBasket 2015 from Ukraine to a new destination, during its meeting in Munich, Germany on Friday.
The decision was taken after a careful consideration of the continuous political situation and security issues in Ukraine, which are deemed as less than favourable for the staging of such an important and demanding event.

The Board took note of the efforts made by the Ukrainian Federation and the country’s giant strides in recent years, including a 6th place finish at EuroBasket 2013 and their participation in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

In that regard the Board declared its willingness to help the Ukraine Federation in its efforts to promote basketball and decided to authorise the President of FIBA Europe Turgay Demirel and the Secretary General Kamil Novak to start negotiations immediately with the Ukrainian side on the possibility of the country hosting EuroBasket 2017, provided that some necessary conditions are met.

With regard to EuroBasket 2015, a new bidding process will now be opened to all European Federations, inviting single or multi-country bids.

All interested parties will have to present the required official documentation and guarantees by 31st July, 2014.
A decision on the new EuroBasket 2015 hosts is expected by 30 September, 2014 at the latest.

The Board has also decided that next year’s event will be played with the new system of competition which was originally set to come into force in 2017. It also confirmed the competition dates.

The above means that EuroBasket 2015 will take place between 5 -20 September, 2015 and will still feature 24 teams but after the initial group phase (four groups of six teams each) the teams will enter a knockout phase.

The necessary bid documentation will be sent to the Federations by the end of next week (20 June).

Mar
0

Even inaction is political for FIBA in Ukraine

The last thing on most people’s minds when it comes to the crisis in Crimea is basketball. FIBA Europe don’t have that luxury. Emmet Ryan says that whatever call FIBA makes on EuroBasket 2015, they will suffer for it.

The road to EuroBasket 2015 had been rocky enough already before last weekend. The Crimea crisis has escalated matters and there are many furrowed brows in FIBA Europe’s headquarters in Munich right about now. Ukraine is set to host the continent’s premier basketball competition next year, that presents a political nightmare for the basketball body.

Let’s look at the options facing FIBA. Only two really matter, keep the tournament in Ukraine or move it. The former requires no new action from FIBA Europe, the latter most certainly does. Neither is pleasant.

The lone upside to keeping the tournament in Ukraine is that FIBA Europe technically isn’t making a political statement if it proceeds with the plan. There’s just a slight problem, if Russia says it’s a political statement then it might as well be. Russia could pull out of the tournament, removing every Russian eyeball and the TV money that goes with it. More importantly, it’s a blatant opportunity for Vladimir Putin to grandstand. And all of this while FIBA Europe does literally nothing to change its current course of action. The financial hit is one the body could take in the short-term but pissing off a big market isn’t advisable beyond it.

Removing the tournament from Ukraine has obviously negative implications from a face-saving point. It’s basically a continent-wide governing body saying Kthanxbai and leaving a member hanging. Whatever your views on the political administration in Ukraine, their governing body of basketball is hardly one to shoulder the blame here. What no-one else will say is that if Ukraine loses the tournament, the only nation likely to boycott is Ukraine. Many more will cluck but they’ll still show up to ball.

The only way FIBA Europe gets out of this jam easily is if Ukraine becomes unviable as a host for the tournament. There are two ways this could happen. Political instability is the less pleasant option. Should matters escalate, and it’s safe to say that’s not a good thing, then FIBA can cite safety concerns but it would really wish it didn’t have to. The second is infrastructure. Does Ukraine still have the physical infrastructure and financial resources to deliver EuroBasket? It’s not exactly a nice idea either but infrastructural concerns, especially substantial ones, would be by far the easiest option for FIBA Europe to use to abandon Ukraine.

Whatever way it pans out, FIBA Europe is going to take an absolutely beating in the press. There are often fair and reasonable reasons to mock the governing body. This really isn’t one of them but it will be one of the more visible and it will end badly for them.

EuroBasket 2015 isn’t the first potential clash of politics and basketball in this crisis. With Ukraine’s Budvielnik Kiev and Khimik Yuzhne still in EuroCup, along with Russian outfits Khimki Moscow Region, Unics Kazan, and Nizhny Novgorod, the competition could yet deliver a match-up where politics takes precedence over basketball.

There’s also the small matter of the VTB United League. The next game scheduled between teams from both nations is between Triumphy Lyubertsy and Azovmash Mariupol. Given Mariupol’s home game with Russia’s Khimki was postponed on 23 February, it’s safe to say that games between Russian and Ukrainian sides in the league are likely to go unplayed for the foreseeable future.

Nov
28

FIBA’s new international tournament rules: Capitulation, silent collusion or just plain selling out?

Apologies from BallinEurope for not weighing in on this … thing until this morning, but after rereading it for the nth time, BiE felt the rant building but wanted to avoid posting an overly emotional response. Perhaps a day and a good night’s rest would temper my viewpoint; maybe upon waking this morning, we’d all discover after logging in to FIBA.com that the Eurobasket manipulation had all been a smokescreen for the hiring of Mike D’Antoni. Or something.

Or does one…?

Continue Reading…

Jan
1

On Team Germany, Bayern München and Dirk Bauermann’s Catch-22

When fans think of European basketball superpowers, typically names like Spain, Greece, Russia and even Lithuania or Italy tend to enter early into any discussion. At least one national program wants to change this conception – and thus far appears to be a paragon of success which others might do well to follow.

To wit, check out a pair of trivia questions, courtesy of BallinEurope:

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