FIBA introduce new calendar for World Cup

Monday, 12 November 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Turkey v France 2010 World ChampionshipsNovember 12 - A new format and calendar for the World Cup, FIBA's flagship tournament, is set to be introduced, it has been announced. 

This means that after the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, the next edition will move to 2019 instead of 2018 with a total of 32 teams - up from 24 - participating.

It will then be played every four years, the FIBA Central Board announced following the meeting in Kuala Lumpur. 

It is the latest major change to the event following the decision to rebrand it following the 2010 event in Turkey when it was called the World Championships, its title since 1950.

FIBA claimed that it reflected the fact that tournament has as a premier international competition and allows for it to be recognised alongside the FIFA World Cup, the Rugby World Cup and the Cricket World Cup

Qualification for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup - which has yet to be awarded - will be held over two year courses, consisting of six windows in November 2017, February, June, September and November 2018 and February  2019.

National teams will be split into two divisions – Division A and Division B – with groups of three or four teams in an open system with promotion and relegation.

In the qualification period, games will be played in a home-and-away format.

Asia and Oceania will play in a combined Asia-Pacific region to qualify, but universality will remain in place for the qualifying process to the Olympic Games.

Palacio de los Deportes de la Comunidad Nov 11Madrid's Palacio de los Deportes de la Comunidad will host the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup

Qualification for the 2020 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be through the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup and four Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, held in four zones.

As of 2017, the continental championships will take place every four years with a similar system of qualification as for the FIBA Basketball World Cup and which will come into action after FIBA's flagship event in 2019.

The current system is being modified to stimulate the global growth of basketball, increase its visibility around the world and further develop FIBA's National Federations with the new home-and-away format allowing fans from around 140 countries to watch their national teams, officials said.

There will be a total of more than 1,200 games played over a four-year cycle.

FIBA President Yvan Mainini explained the rationale behind the change.

"Basketball needs to expand its reach and generate a new, dynamic stimulus for its growth," he said.

"This can only happen if each country grows the game and plays regularly in front of its own fans."

USA celebrate winning 2010 FIBA World Basketball ChampionshipsThe United States won the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey, their fourth victory in the event's history

The new competition format takes the health of top players into consideration by reducing their current summer workload and responds to the clubs' concerns about player fatigue and injury, FIBA claimed.

"National teams are the locomotive of basketball in each country," said Patrick Baumann, FIBA's general secretary.

"We need to protect and enhance their role.

"At the same time, clubs invest daily into our sport and their investment also needs respect and protection."

"Therefore, in each country, it is the joint responsibility of clubs, leagues and National Federations to cooperate for the success of the national championships and the national team in this new integrated system."

FIBA also plans to review the women's calendar and system of competition by the end of 2013.

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