The International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) Players’ Commission has expressed concerns about the staging of group matches in Lille at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Chief among its issues are health and safety factors, and the distance between Lille and the French capital.
The basketball venue for Paris 2024 has proved contentious, but after officials had previously expressed concerns over the relocation of group matches, FIBA “conditionally” approved the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, citing “extraordinary reasons invoked by Paris 2024 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC)”.
However, it insisted this was “pending confirmation that the FIBA requirements are met, notably those relating to the health and safety of the players and the associated risks”.
At its final meeting of the year, the FIBA Players’ Commission, chaired by former German player Dirk Nowitzki, “expressed concerns” about the Stade Pierre-Mauroy being used for group matches at Paris 2024.
This included “worries about the health and safety of the players in a stadium with a retractable roof during the summer”, and fears that the 225-kilometre distance between Lille and Paris “will essentially prevent the players from having the full Olympic experience”, including some teams being required to miss the Opening Ceremony.
Insidethegames has asked Paris 2024 and the IOC for a comment on the Players’ Commission’s concerns.
IOC Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said earlier this month that FIBA’s conditional approval was “excellent news”, and claimed “final approval should be looming pretty soon”.
He also said there was time “to produce all the refinements that are needed for the optimal conditions to ensure the safety and the wellness of the players”.
Basketball group matches in Lille are due to begin on July 27, the day after the Opening Ceremony, and run until August 4.
Knockout ties are then due to be held in Paris at the Bercy Arena from August 6 to 11.
Hall Six of the Arena Paris Sud was the originally planned venue for basketball preliminary phase matches, but concerns were raised over poor ventilation and its nine-metre ceiling.
The Stade Pierre-Mauroy is also set to be used for handball knockout matches at Paris 2024.