Is Istanbul capable of hosting the 2017 Euroleague Final Four?
After the recent terrorist attacks in Istanbul, where two explosions killed 46 people and injured 166 others, the basketball world is concerned about the safety of the clubs and fans that will attend the 2017 Euroleague Final Four, which is set to take place at the “Sinan Erdem Dome” in May.
That said, the question now is whether the Euroleague, along with the local authorities, can guarantee the safety of both the respective clubs and all those people that will travel to Turkey to attend the event.
In the last few years, there have been many terrorist incidents that have put a major football, basketball or sports event in danger.
For example, there were rumours that the 2016 European tournament in France would be one of the terrorists’ targets, following a series of attacks and explosions that took place in Paris in November 2015 and killed many people.
Now, more than a year later, things haven’t significantly changed and there still is a high level of insecurity all over the world.
Especially in Turkey, the situation is rather explosive, due to the political and military problems the country has faced in the past few months, which has led to a series of bombings, not only in Istanbul, but in other major Turkish cities as well.
Undoubtedly, this uncertainty has affected the basketball world, since Istanbul will host not only this year’s Final Four, but also the European tournament’s knockout stage in September. Consequently, it’s of utmost importance for the hosts to ensure there will be no danger for anybody in the city.
Concerning the players, Anadolu Efes’ guard, Bryce Cotton, requested from his team to be released, not only due to personal and family reasons, but also because he was afraid of how things turned out.
Concurrently, most fans certainly feel insecure on whether to make a trip to Istanbul, while the same probably goes for the players, too.
Two years ago, FIBA decided to relocate the 2015 Eurobasket, due to Ukraine’s political crisis, however this will not happen this time, as Euroleague’s CEO, Jordi Bertomeu, doesn’t seem to be so anxious, mentioning that people should not be afraid of terror.
But, this is not enough and my point is that everybody (including Bertomeu, the Euroleague, local authorities, even FIBA) should do their best to make sure nothing will happen, considering that more terrorist attacks and bombings may happen within the next few months.
Moreover, they should ensure that all journalists and fans will be safe, as almost 16,000 people are expected to be in attendance during the matches.
To sum up, I think that there will be no problem concerning the two competitions and everything will be under control, however what remains to be seen is whether the hosts can guarantee everybody’s safety, just like they did four years ago, in 2012.