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Basketball's popularity soars in France as national federation sets another new record
PARIS - It's the number one women's team sport in France and now the French Basketball Federation (FFBB) have once again set a new record for the number of licensed players.
The eye-catching upward trajectory of participation in recent years has been linked with the success of the national teams in competing or medals, along with the hosting of major tournaments in the country. These include FIBA EuroBasket 2015 which smashed attendance records, as well as the 2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Now all eyes are focused on the exciting prospect of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, with the dynamic national team star Marine Johannes having recently been named to the prestigious Athletes Commission for the quadrennial event.
Even though the current season is not yet over in France, the number of registrations has soared from 661,025 to 668,312 - something which seals a ninth consecutive annual increase.
A thrilled FFBB President, Jean-Pierre Siutat, said: "Despite a difficult global context (the fall of the National Center for Sport's Development, reduction of most public financing, subsidized jobs cut, the uberization of sport), this new historic record of licensed players demonstrates all of the attractiveness of French basketball.
"It serves to reward the work carried out daily by our clubs, departmental committees, regional leagues, as well as the services of the Federation (FFBB), all of whom implement the federal policy across the territory. We also owe this evolution to the good results achieved by the National Basketball League (LNB), the Women's Basketball League (LFB), professional clubs and to the exposure of French basketball.
"The young people who are starting out in basketball can identify with the players from our French teams, who shine as much through their commitment to the national jersey and the sport's value as by their excellent performances (both the men's and women's French national teams are ranked third in FIBA's World Rankings)."
He continued: "Paris will host the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2024. This formidable challenge for French sport calls for both excellence and high performance.
"It will require French basketball to continue its modernization and, in line with its project 'FFBB 2024', evolve its sporting offerings (basketball and 3x3) and non-sporting ones within its 4,500 historical clubs or for new clubs that will join the Federation as of next season.
Jean-Pierre Siutat (FRA)
"We will unveil FFBB 2024 in June and it will be our answer to preparing the legacy of the Olympics and the transformation of our sport to better satisfy the demand of our future licensed players," concluded Siutat.