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Seven bidding countries poised to learn who will host FIBA EuroBasket 2021
MUNICH (Germany) - Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Italy and Slovenia are gearing up for Monday's big announcement in Munich on which countries will multi-host FIBA EuroBasket 2021, the 41st edition of the event.
With none of the bids calling for hosting the European basketball's flagship event single-handedly, one of the countries to serve as Group Phase hosts will also stage the Final Phase.
Following the introduction of FIBA's New Competition System, the event switched from a two-year to a four-year cycle for the upcoming event, giving players one free summer and maximizing the chance of having international stars in the flagship FIBA competitions.
The host announcement will be streamed on all FIBA social media platforms at 16:30 GMT+2.
Having already hosted the competition four times, most recently welcoming the Group Phase of the 2015 edition in Berlin, Germany are keen to bring FIBA EuroBasket to the country for one more time.
The German Basketball Federation Secretary General Wolfgang Brenscheidt, who is also the head of Germany's application team and a FIBA Europe board member, said: "Basketball Germany is behind the application for the EuroBasket 2021 and is looking forward to two years of basketball action throughout the country. Hosting the biggest basketball event in the heart of Europe would support the development of Basketball in Germany and would be the consequential answer to the constant positive progress of the DBB."
The current European title-holders and FIBA EuroBasket 2013 hosts Slovenia are also among the countries in the running.
"We would be proud to bring Europe's best teams to the home of European champions," said Radoslav Nesterovic, Secretary General of the Slovenian Basketball Federation. "There is no shortage of experience when it comes to organizing and delivering successful events like EuroBasket, of which Slovenia have proven themselves at the highest level in the past. Hosting FIBA EuroBasket 2021 would mean a great deal for us and our country. It would significantly impact our younger generations of basketball fans and the local community."
Having seen their national team return to the FIBA EuroBasket after an 18-year absence in 2017, Hungary now have their sights set on hosting the continent's premier competition on home soil for the first time since 1955.
They were co-hosts of the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2015 with Romania, with the tournament taking place in Budapest, Debrecen, Gyor, Szombathely and Sopron.
"FIBA EuroBasket is the biggest event of European basketball, and Hungary was able to participate in the last one. For us, this is a dream we don't want to miss. Hungary has been home to many prestigious sports events, we have lots of experience, our facilities are great, our country is beautiful. Our goal is to organize a memorable EuroBasket event," said Hungarian Basketball Federation President Ferenc Szalay.
Having qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China, Czech Republic is experiencing basketball fever. The now-retired Czech basketball star Jiri Welsch, who has represented the country at five FIBA EuroBasket Final Rounds as a player, would like to seize the opportunity and extend the momentum.
The last time FIBA EuroBasket was held on Czech soil was in 1981, though the country's desire to host top-level European basketball events is exemplified by the fact FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2017 took place Hradec Kralove and Prague just a couple of years ago.
"Czech Republic is a beautiful country which is currently has basketball fever with the participation of our nation team in the upcoming World Cup in China and which is lead by two of the greatest players that our country has ever had," said Welsch, referring to the dynamic duo of Tomas Satoransky and Jan Vesely.
It has also been a while since FIBA EuroBasket was held in Italy and their bid to host FIBA EuroBasket 2021 coincides with the upcoming centenary of the Italian Basketball Federation.
An icon of Italian basketball and former Italian Basketball Federation President Dino Meneghin said: "It's a fundamental step for our sport. To host a group during EuroBasket 2021 would bring even more prestige and strength to our system. When we prepared our bid, we put together numbers, the goals we reached and proposals. However, what was so difficult for us to present to you is the passion that has been forever embedded in all components of Italian basketball: from minibasket to veterans like me, going through athletes, managers, referees, officials. A tremendous passion, which is the motor for the growth and the betterment of our basketball."
For Estonia and Georgia, FIBA EuroBasket 2021 would represent their first time organizing the event. However, both countries have a proven track record when it comes to their love for the game of basketball.
Thousands of travelling Estonian fans painted the Group Phase of the FIBA EuroBasket 2015 in Riga in a sea of blue, while Georgia made a name for itself with one sell-out crowd after another in the country's FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers campaign.
"For Georgia, a country with a big basketball tradition, the EuroBasket competition means a dream of many basketball generations, a challenge, a full hall and, therefore, a great basketball atmosphere and celebration," said Paata Guraspauli, the President of the Georgian Basketball National Federation.
Multi-hosting for European basketball's flagship event took place in 2015 for the first time and was a huge success as Croatia, Germany, France and Latvia staged Group Phase games. The Final Phase was then held in Lille, France, with Spain beating Lithuania in the title game.
In 2017, multi-hosting saw Finland, Israel, Romania and Turkey stage Group Phase games, with the Final Phase in Istanbul, Turkey. Slovenia claimed the crown for the first time after beating Serbia in the Final.