Basketball forced to move from Kyiv to Istanbul

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The European Basketball Organisation, FIBA Europe, announced today that the FIBA Europe League Final Four will not take place in the Sports Palace in Kyiv, as originally planned. The tournament, scheduled for 27th and 28th April , will be moved to last year's Eurovision Song Contest venue, the Abdi Ipecki arena in Istanbul.

Kyiv informed FIBA Europe yesterday that the Kyiv Sports Palace will not be available on the 27th and 28th April, the scheduled dates for the Final Four. The Kyiv Sports Palace will host the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest.

Taras Stetskiv, president of the National TV Company of Ukraine understands the importance of both competitions, but the contract for the Eurovision Song Contest was made earlier. He can not allow to hold the Final Four because of a lack of time. Stetskiv reminded that Turkey needed two months for building the stage while the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv will have only two weeks. “If they take these three days, we will not have time for the preparations of the Eurovision Song Contest,” Stetskiv said.

Stetskiv appealed to Vice-premier Nickolay Tomenko and Minister of Youth and Sports Yurii Pavlenko with a query to find another place for conducting Final Four or to discuss the transferal of the competition with FIBA.

Kyiv earlier assured FIBA Europe that the preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest would not have an effect on the Final Four, but the Ukrainian government yesterday informed that the Sports Palace would in fact be closed on 27th and 28th April. “We are of course very disappointed with this news,” said FIBA Europe Executive Director Nar Zanolin. “All the arrangements had been made and communication gone out to all the participants that we would play in Kiev.

The basketball tournament thus moves to last year's Eurovision Song Contest venue, the Abdi Ipecki arena in Istanbul. “On a positive note, we are very happy that we can play at the Abdi Ipecki arena in Istanbul, one of the top basketball facilities in Europe and a great location for the Final Four,” concluded FIBA.

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