Officials from Paris 2024 and FIBA visited the Stade Pierre-Mauroy ©Getty Images

Paris 2024 and International Basketball Federation (FIBA) representatives have visited the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, the proposed venue for preliminary round basketball matches at next year's Olympic Games, as they move closer to a final agreement on its usage.

The Stade Pierre-Mauroy has proved a controversial choice for basketball matches, with concerns expressed over the 225-kilometres journey from Paris to Lille and air conditioning at the stadium.

FIBA in December granted conditional approval to the venue, set to stage around 27,000 spectators at Paris 2024, "because of extraordinary reasons invoked by Paris 2024 and the International Olympic Committee", although insisted this was "pending confirmation that the FIBA requirements are met".

After visiting the stadium with Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet, FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis expressed hope that the venue would provide "excellent conditions for athletes" and provide "an Olympic record of tickets and attendance of spectators in an Olympic basketball tournament".

While there are "open issues", Zagklis believes that progress is being made in the direction of a final agreement.

Andreas Zagklis said there are still "open issues", but there is "light at the end of the tunnel" ©
Andreas Zagklis said there are still "open issues", but there is "light at the end of the tunnel" ©

"The Board of FIBA has taken a decision in principle - we want to come here, subject to resolving those topics," the Greek official said.

"Do you know any Olympics that do not have open topics 18 months before?

"It happens to all the Olympics, and you're looking at someone who comes from Athens - we organised 20 years ago and we know how difficult it is.

"For us, the topic of guaranteeing the safety of our athletes regardless of the conditions outside is the priority, and this is something that we have been perhaps sometimes too tough, but it is our job to represent our athletes and I have to admit and thank Paris 2024 for having made a lot of progress over the last months, and I think we can see the light at the end of this tunnel.

"It is true it is the first time in our history that we will be playing basketball outside the host city of the Olympics, but there is where I want to thank the local authorities for their support to Paris 2024.

"I can say that we are ready to make this an excellent experience for the fans, for the players."

Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet claimed that the Organising Committee was "very calm" about the situation, and was adamant "basketball and handball will be played in Lille in 2024".

Basketball group matches in Lille are due to begin on July 27, the day after the Opening Ceremony, and take place until August 4.

Knockout ties are then due to be held in Paris at the Bercy Arena from August 6 to 11.

The Stade Pierre-Mauroy is also set to be used for handball knockout matches at Paris 2024.

It previously held knockout matches at EuroBasket 2015 and is home to Ligue 1 football team Lille OSC.