China have been bestowed upon with the hosting rights of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. The results were announced by the FIBA Central Board in Tokyo on August 7, with China beating the Philippines 14-7 in the final vote results.
Prior to the final vote, FIBA had said members can opt to host either the 2019 World Cup, both 2019 and 2023 World Cup or just the 2023 World Cup. China, Philippines, Germany and France as co-hosts and Turkey had all bid for the 2019 World Cup, while Qatar had bid for both 2019 and 2023. However, FIBA decided to have the 2019 edition in East Asia, thus moving Turkey, Germany and France and the Qatar bid for 2023, who will be joined by Russia in the competition for winning the hosting rights for 2023.
The 2019 World Cup will see an expansion from 24 to 32 teams as well as changes in the qualifying structure for the World Cup.
The FIBA had invited both the countries to make presentations about their bids for the World Cup hosting rights on August 7 at Tokyo before the vote. FIBA had said, it would be judging both the applications on 4 criteria :
- Vision and Concept
- Experience in events
- Basketball history
- Cities and Venues
For the second criteria, China had the definite edge. They successfully held the 2008 Summer Olympics and have now been awarded the rights to the 2022 Winter Olympics, giving them an experienced edge. However, Philippines have already hosted the FIBA World Cup earlier, having hosted the 1978 edition.
Both nations are passionate basketball supporters. Philippines have always loved the sport with Manny Pacquiao, an avid fan among the many enthusiastic Filipino supporters for the bid. Actor Lou Diamond Philips led the Philippines presentation. However, China emerged as having a massive fan base for the sport, following Yao Ming’s draft in the NBA. Ming was part of the delegation that made China’s presentation bid. Experts believe that there might be as many as 300 million basketball fans in the world’s most populous country.
Both, however, can provide state of the art infrastructure and facilities for the teams, and with for years of preparation available, both have scope to upgrade them further. Prior to the vote results, the Philippines took social media by storm, with #PUSO2019 as one of the most searched topics on twitter.
However, to their disappointment, China were awarded the hosting rights with a convincing 14-7 vote in its favour.
After the bid results were announced, Yao Ming said :
“It’s such an exciting moment to bring the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup to China and I’m sure that millions of fans are sharing this joy with us. We have to pay tribute to the Philippines delegation. They were great opponents. Only opponents like them could really push us to our limits to test how capable we are. Even if we were opponents on this occasion, we still have a friendship with them.
I know what it’s like to play a top level basketball tournament in front of home fans because I played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Having the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup will inspire a lot of people and particularly more young athletes to participate in basketball.”
Horacio Muratore, the President of FIBA, said:
“This was a very difficult decision because we had two national federations who did excellent work. However, there can only be one host country for our event in 2019 and it will be China. We would like to congratulate both national federations for their outstanding work and bids. This is what we wanted: to have national federations put together top quality bids to host our flagship event.
We look forward to the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, which will be the first of a new era with 140 teams competing during a 15-month qualification period to be among the 32 playing in China.”
As per China’s bid, the World Cup will be held across the eight cities : Beijing, Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan and Dongguan.
The country has been really going all out to host many sporting events in the 21st Century, and will without a doubt, hope to deliver a successful event, and its team will hope to deliver strong performances on the court.
Editor : Akanksha Agarwal