Basketball in Paris can go to headquarters outside the capital

Basketball in Paris can go to headquarters outside the capital

GENEVA (AFP) – Most basketball games at the Paris Olympics can be played within three hours from the French capital, a notion that was criticized by the International Sports Federation on Wednesday.

Paris organizers were unable to find a suitable venue for matches before the knockout stages of the 2024 tournament, and are now considering using the football stadium in Lille, a city 210 kilometers (130 miles) from Paris.

The original plan was to compete in a yard in the capital, but that scenario was scrapped in March after complaints from French NBA players who warned the ceiling was too low for basketball.

“We do not believe that our players should be subject to the conditions that are now being put in place,” FIBA ​​general secretary Andreas Zacklis told the organizers of the Summer Games on Wednesday. concerned.”

If Lille gets the go-ahead, the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will not arrive in Paris until the final days of the games, which will take place between July 26 and August 11.

The discipline is expected to be one of the most attractive disciplines in Paris, given the presence of NBA and WNBA personalities and the popularity of basketball in France.

Playing in Lille, located in the north-east and close to the Belgian border, would prevent players from spending the night in the Olympic Village in Paris or having to make three-hour transfers, Zacles said during a meeting of the umbrella organization for Olympic sports. in Lausanne.

Lille’s stadium features a retractable roof and has in the past hosted continental football and basketball tournaments, as well as the Davis Cup Tennis Final.

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At the Tokyo Games last year, the entire basketball program was organized at the Saitama Super Arena. The United States claimed gold in both categories, with NBA stars like Kevin Durant and Jason Tatum and WNBA stars like Sue Bird and Britney Grenier.

In response to the FIBA ​​official, the president of the Paris Organizing Committee Tony Estangett acknowledged that “we are not in a situation that is not easy due to the crises” that are shaking the world.

“We have to find solutions to maintain a level that fits as closely as possible within our budget,” said Estanguet, who has won three Olympic gold medals in rowing.

He has repeatedly used the word “improvement” when referring to spending efficiency in terms of a budget set at €4 billion ($4.3 billion).

The medal matches will be held in Paris 2024 at the Arena Paris Bercy with a capacity of 15,000 spectators. The gymnastics stage will be during the first week of the games.

Oliver Walton

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