FIBA not seeking to expand Olympic 3x3 basketball in near future

by IANS |

Mies (Switzerland), Dec 8 (IANS) The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) is not seeking to expand the Olympic 3x3 basketball competition in the near future, FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis said here on Thursday.

"We should not think the World Cup went from 24 [teams] to 32, so with a magic wand, we can take the teams from 12 to 16 or from eight to 12 [at the Olympics]," Zagklis told the annual year-end media conference, reports Xinhua.

Zagklis said the participating teams in the 5x5 basketball and the 3x3 basketball competitions will not be increased at Los Angeles 2028 or at Brisbane 2032.

"It has been made clear by the recent announcements for Los Angeles that the number of quotas will not increase for any sport. We should not expect the 12 to become more in the near future, I would say in Los Angeles or Brisbane," he added.

There are eight berths per gender for the 3x3 basketball at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Most team sports like basketball, volleyball and football have 12 berths in their competitions. Men's football has 16 slots, while beach volleyball has 24 teams per gender at Paris.

"Right now the IOC [International Olympic Committee] is not thinking of increasing anybody. It's rather in thinking of decreasing some of the sports. In Los Angeles, four out of five sports proposed by the organizing committee are team sports."

On November 16, cricket, baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse and squash were approved by the 141st IOC Session as additional sports at the Los Angeles 2028. Only squash is not a team sport.

Zagklis said the Olympic Games has a general cap of athletes as 10,500.

"We are not happy with only eight in 3x3. We don't have universality. We cannot have all the continents represented," he added.

But Zagklis added that this is not necessarily a bad thing. "We think basketball, and we think our tournaments, but the Olympics is a multiple sport event of a totally different magnitude," he said.

"I should thank the IOC that we can play [Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, or OQTs] so late in order to allow some space for our leagues to finish their seasons, both for the NBA but also for domestic leagues in the rest of the world," he added.

The FIBA 3x3 basketball OQTs are scheduled for May 2024, while the 5x5 basketball OQTs are to be played as late as July 7. The 2024 Paris Olympics will start on July 26, 2024.

"This agreement is very difficult every time for IOC. Because if a delegation learns on July 7 - less than three weeks before the Olympics - that they have 12 extra players, this change is totally on the logistics, in the Village, and in the transportation. This is a domino effect," Zagklis explained.

"So we should a little bit think as a part of the Olympic family. A smaller quota is more achievable sometime in the future."

Because of the smaller number of participating teams, host nation France was granted only one automatic berth in 3x3 basketball. According to the rules, France's women's 3x3 national team earned the ticket automatically with a higher world ranking than the men's team, who still have to play OQTs for a chance to compete at their home Olympics.

"France cannot have both [teams] automatically qualified. The women of France were automatically qualified, and the men's will have two chances to play for a spot at home," Zagklis said, adding that he was very confident that 3x3 basketball at Paris 2024 will be as exciting as expected.

"I'm really excited about the level of talent we will have in Paris. I also see the teams being very motivated, and well-prepared. We will have a great OQTs, and all I can say is this will be four weeks of fantastic people of basketball," Zagklis noted.

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