FIBA to change Basketball World Cup
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
FIBA approved major changes to its basketball calendar, starting with a new cycle for its Basketball World Cup.
After the 2014 World Cup in Spain, the next World Cup will be played in 2019, instead of 2018, so it doesn’t coincide with soccer’s World Cup cycle. The event will also expand to 32 teams from 24 in 2019 as FIBA, basketball’s world governing body for international competition, and the NBA look to capitalize financially on the event. It will be held every four years again beginning after the 2019 World Cup.
“The new competition format will give more prominence to the FIBA Basketball World Cup by placing it in a year where it can enjoy more exclusivity,” FIBA said in a statement.
The 2019 Basketball World Cup will also serve as the main qualifier for the 2020 Summer Games, and there will be additional Olympic qualifiers for teams who do not qualify at the World Cup.
In an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports, FIBA communications director Patrick Koller said eight teams– seven from the 2019 World Cup plus the 2020 Olympic host nation – will qualify automatically for the 2020 Summer Games. Previously, only the world champion qualified for the Olympics at worlds, and the rest of Olympic participants (not including the Olympics host nation) qualified at continental championships and at an Olympic qualifying tournament just before the Games.
Also, in a move that will bother some European national teams and fans, FIBA decided it will play continental championships, such as the popular Eurobasket, once every four years – instead every two years – after the 2017 European championships.
FIBA Secretary-General Patrick Baumann said in August at the London Olympics that FIBA wanted to make those changes to its program, and FIBA made the announcement Sunday at its Central Board meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Basketball needs to expand its reach and generate a new, dynamic stimulus for its growth. This can only happen if each country grows the game and plays regularly in front of its own fans,” FIBA President Yvan Mainini said in a news release.
• Qualifying for the 2019 World Cup will … [For more on Hoops World Cup will be played on years opposite soccer, click here.]