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Asia

Qatar awarded 2027 Basketball World Cup, while 2023 final is switched

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Qatar has been awarded hosting rights for the 2027 FIBA Basketball World Cup, with the women’s event in 2026 to be staged in Germany.

FIBA’s chiefs said they decided to take their flagship competition to the MENA region for the first time due to the compact geographical nature of the Qatar bid, with all games to be played in capital city Doha. The four venues include the 16,000-capacity Lusail Multipurpose Hall, Aspire Dome, Duhail Sports Hall and Ali Bin Hamad al-Attiyah Arena

They also praised Qatar’s “unique flexibility” with tournament venue scheduling to better serve the fans, as well as an emphasis on sustainability.

FIBA said it was also attracted by the Qatar bid as all venues to be used for the event are already constructed, while widely used green technologies will help in delivering the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2027 as a carbon-neutral event.

Qatar’s experience in hosting major events such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 World Athletic Championships was also appealing to world basketball’s governing body.

Andreas Zagklis, FIBA secretary general, said: “I would like to congratulate QBF on their successful bid, and we are very confident that this event will be one of the highest quality both on and off the court.

“Importantly, it will be delivered by a skilled and experienced team that has an excellent track record on a wide range of major international sporting events, including world championships or cups of more than a dozen other top Olympic sports.

“Additionally, to have all 32 participating teams based in one city for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2027 will present a unique opportunity for fans to customize their World Cup experience by accessing more games in person than in any other FIBA World Cup over the last 20 years. I believe 2027 will be a special experience in Doha for this flagship FIBA event.”

Meanwhile, FIBA has awarded its FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup to Germany for the second time, with the nation’s capital city of Berlin to stage the 2026 event.

Arena Berlin and Max-Schmeling Halle will host the games at the expanded tournament, which will feature 16 teams for the first time in 2026.

FIBA said the German Basketball Association’s (DBB) work as co-hosts of the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 played a key role in their decision. Germany hosted the Final Phase of the competition in Berlin as well as a Group Phase in Cologne.

Mall of Asia Arena nets 2023 Final Phase

Both hosting decisions were made in Manila, The Philippines on the eve of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 draw. A further announcement concerning the 2023 event was the relocation of the Final Phase from the Philippine Arena to Mall of Asia Arena due to traffic concerns, although many reports suggest the former’s prohibition on the selling of alcohol also played a part in the decision.

FIBA said the Final Phase will be played in the 15,000-capacity Mall of Asia Arena and the two games of the Opening Round for the group of the Philippines will now be played in the vast 50,000-seat Philippine Arena.

FIBA said the main concern leading to the decision was the requirement to provide consistent and swift transfer of the teams and fans to multiple games over the six days of the Final Phase. Despite completing the construction of a toll road connecting Metro Manila with the Philippine Arena in 2021, it could only be tested in real conditions since November 2022, after COVID restrictions were lifted. Since then, several events took place in that venue, including the last Window of the World Cup Qualifiers, identifying serious traffic and transport concerns.

“The priority that led to this decision is the experience of our fans. This is in service of the Filipino basketball fan, as well as those arriving from all over the world,” said Philippines basketball association (SBP) president Al Panlilio in a statement. “We thank our brothers and sisters from the Iglesia ni Cristo and the Philippine Arena Management, specifically, for being a true partner in this endeavor and we appreciate their support of the final decision that was reached.”

Aside from the traffic situation, sources told ESPN that other issues over Philippine Arena reportedly brought up were the distance of the court from the audience, lack of food concessionaires, and prohibition on the selling of alcohol. The latter issue is a concern given that San Miguel Corporation is a major sponsor of the event.