By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
“Eurobasket is the top national team competition in the world”, stated FIBA Europe president Turgay Demirel in the press conference that traditionally takes place on the last day of the tournament.
While exact numbers weren’t available yet, Eurobasket 2022 is expected to be one of the most lucrative FIBA events ever with numbers that are near those of Eurobasket 2015, in which the final phase was held in Lille and the Stade Pierre-Mauroy with a total capacity of 35.000 seats.
Demirel also addressed the issue of the ongoing EuroLeague and FIBA debate, which affects officiating and the players competing in the FIBA Windows. As he said: “We want the top players both in the final phase and in the Windows and it is possible that in the coming months there will be some discussions about this in order to resolve it. There are other issues not only refereeing. It is not the only thing we have to discuss with the Euroleague. We all know the situation in football and its strength. They play national team matches all the time and all the stars of the teams are available. In basketball, it is different not only because of the NBA but also because of the Euroleague. Usually, the games coincide. Everyone wants their top players to play. Maybe with the new management, there will be new discussions and hopefully, there will be some solution.”
Demirel stated that a meeting with new EuroLeague president Dejan Bodiroga for all those issues is in the cards: “He is the new president of the EuroLeague and I congratulated him. He is a legend of European basketball and knows the problems in detail. We will certainly meet and communicate soon but of course, he has his own priorities with the EuroLeague and the shareholder teams. We will talk about how we can solve some issues and we are optimistic that things can be improved”.
Executive Director of FIBA Europe, Kamil Novak added, speaking about the referees and the issues presented in the tournament: “The issue has two aspects. Referees are examined before and during the tournament. There are mistakes obviously and what happened in the Lithuania-Germany match was unfair and it shouldn’t have been done. In 2015 there were also protests about refereeing and I assure you that this year there are no more. It’s part of the tournament too. In the final phase, we didn’t have such big protests. We had two big bad moments in the tournament. In addition, what happened in the Georgia-Turkey match is something bad and something that was discussed. Of course, I have to say that social media have also played a role in this. We took our measures, we had discussions. Changes were made and in the final phase things became tougher for that reason.”
Due to the FIBA and EuroLeague conflict, EuroLeague referees are not called by FIBA in national team tournaments. Kamil Novak explained the situation: “We want to have the best, that’s a fact. I had a feeling that the referees didn’t have much experience but they managed big matches in competitions other than the Euroleague. It’s not possible to have matches without refereeing mistakes. just as it is not possible to have matches without mistakes by coaches and players. Obviously, we want to reduce them. Of course, we know the referees but for example, an evaluation should also be done during their season. Can there be any criteria and if we don’t have information (ed.note: from the EuroLeague)? How will we be able to do it?”
German Basketball Federation (DBB) President and FIBA Treasurer Ingo Weiss was also part of the press conference, emphasizing the importance of the Eurobasket to German basketball growth.