The FIBA board have revealed their new international cycle to commence in November 2017 at a press conference in Lille.

All continental FIBA events will now be held every four years with Eurobasket being re-named the Eurobasket Cup as of 2021.

The 32-team FIBA World Cup, which will be held in China in 2019 will serve as a direct qualifier to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with the highest ranked finisher from the Africa, Asia and Oceania continent directly qualifying and the top two from the Americas and Europe advancing to the Olympics.

The remaining 16 teams will then play in the 24-team Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where there will be four additional qualifying events comprising of six teams each, and the top placed teams from each will advance to the Olympic Games.

The remaining eight teams will advance to the Olympic Qualifiers via their respective continental championships with the best two teams going through.

From November 2017, Australia and New Zealand will compete in the FIBA Asia championships.

FIBA Oceania logo
FIBA Oceania will join FIBA Asia from November 2017

… AND EUROPE? 

Out of all continents, Europe will undergo the most change from this new international cycle.

After Eurobasket 2017, the cycle will begin in November and also in February, June and September with a 32-team first round tournament, which will be separated into eight groups of four. Each team will play a round robin tournament of six home and six away games.

The top three from each group will move on to the second round of Division A qualifying and be separated into four groups of six. The top three from each of those four pools will advance directly to the FIBA World Cup in China.

The bottom three nations from the Division A second round will drop to the qualifying rounds along with the relegated teams from the first round and it will be the top four that will advance to the Eurobasket Cup qualifiers in 2020.

The bottom two sides from each group will then go into a third round of additional qualifiers, comprising of four groups of four nations. The top placed teams from that third round will head to the Eurobasket Cup Qualifiers in 2020.

The remaining 24 countries will be the other nations that participated in the second round of qualifying in Division A.

The draw for the 2019 World Cup Qualifiers will be in May 2017.

WILL THE BEST PLAYERS BE THERE?

FIBA have said that the international game will be better and will involve more players, exposing the international game in all its splendour. But for the first two international cycles, all the best players from each nation will more than likely not be involved.

Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol’s commitment to the Spanish national side will be limited due to his NBA duties with the Chicago Bulls. Photo: FIBA

It’s likely that the NBA stars will only be featured in the final two windows, June and September, leaving November and February available possibly for the Euroleague and Eurocup stars to guide their national sides.

That means that more players are likely to be involved with the national programme.

WILL THE INTERNATIONAL GAME SUFFER? 

The majority think that it will. But, this new cycle will take some getting used to. The nations that rely heavily on its NBA stars, like Slovenia, Georgia and Bosnia & Herzegovina will be affected, but for nations that boast strong European talent from the Euroleague and Eurocup, they will be able to progress from this, providing that the Euroleague and its teams will release the players.

WHAT ABOUT THE USA? 

USA Basketball and the NBA are working with FIBA to make this new cycle work, the FIBA Board say, and seconded by American journalists who are close with USA Basketball.

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
More dominance ahead from the USA, or will they be derailed a little bit from these new changes? Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA Vice Commissioner Mark Tatum is on the FIBA Board and is directly communicating with FIBA along with USA Basketball chief Jerry Colangelo to make this work.

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