By Duncan Mackay

3x3 basketballNovember 14 - Basketball wants to increase its presence at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro by adding 3x3 as a medal event and increasing the number of men's team taking part from 12 to 16. 

FIBA announced at the end of a meeting of its ruling Central Board in Kuala Lumpur that it wanted to add the four extra teams and for the tournament to be played in two arenas instead of one. 

FIBA claimed that if its proposal is accepted than he would have four groups of four rather than the current system of two groups of six.

They claim that, because it means less matches, it would help the top players avoid injury and make games more attractive. 

The rules of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) limit team events to 12 nations unless its ruling Executive Board gives special permission.

FIFA has 16 men's teams in the football tournament.

Previous requests from FIBA to the IOC to increase the number of teams have been rejected because of a desire not to increase the number of overall competitors at the Olympics beyond 10,500. 

The early rounds of the men's tournament at London 2012 was played at the Basketball Arena on the Olympic Park with the knockout stages taking place at the North Greenwich Arena - better known as the O2 Arena - with the United States retaining their title by beating Spain 107-100 in the final. 

LeBron James London 2012 final v Spain August 12 2012America's LeBron James in action of the London 2012 final against Spain at the North Greenwich Arena

Earlier this week, the Central Board announced that from 2019 the number of countries competing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup would be increased from 24 to 32. 

FIBA introduced the 3x3, half-court version of basketball for men and women to a worldwide audience at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics, where it was a massive success.

The sport is a form of the game initially developed on inner-city asphalt outdoor courts in the United States.

3x3 basketball at Singapore 20103x3 basketball made its international debut at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, where it was a massive success

With more than 250 million players worldwide and among the most played recreational sports in the world, 3x3 will help the growth of basketball, FIBA claim.

A 3x3 World Tour was introduced this year, with a team from San Juan in Puerto Rico winning the overall title at the finals in Miami and claiming a first prize of $30,000 (£19,000/€24,000)

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