In an interview to sport-fm.gr FIBA Europe Executive Director Kamil Novak confirmed that 8 national teams, including reigning champions Spain, were banned from EuroBasket 2017.
The teams affected by the ban are Spain, Slovenia, Serbia, Russia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and FYR of Macedonia. The said teams are set to miss EuroBasket 2017 because their clubs took a decision to join Eurocup run by Euroleague instead of joining Basketball Champions League recently launched by FIBA.
EuroBasket 2017 could miss even more high profile teams as 6 national federations were asked to present their responses to FIBA Europe until 20 April. The said list includes EuroBasket 2015 silver medal winners Lithuania, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Israel and Poland.
It should be note that Israel and Turkey are two of four EuroBasket 2017 hosting nations with the latter set to host the final rounds.
Kamil Novak also revealed that FIBA Europe asked FIBA to ban respective national teams from Rio Olympics that will take place this summer. The ban would affect Spain and Lithuania that have guaranteed places in Rio as well as Serbia, Italy and Croatia who will compete in qualifying tournaments.
Torino (Italy) and Belgrade (Serbia) were chosen as 2 of 3 host cities for the three Olympic Qualifying Tournament but could be replaced with other cities should the bans be imposed. According to various reports, FIBA Europe has already sent out inquiries to several countries asking if they are interested in taking over hosting from nations that could possibly get banned.
According to Novak, the possibility of FIBA satisfying FIBA Europe’s request and handing Olympic bans is likely. That comes as no surprise since both organisations are working closely in the last few years.