EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu confirmed that the end of season Final Four will still be held at the Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul despite recent attacks in the city and in other parts of Turkey.
The Final Four is scheduled to take place May 19-21 in the European side of Istanbul.
However, the ongoing attacks in Turkey have continued with an explosion in Istanbul wounding five people in mid-November followed by the murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey in Ankara last week.
But despite these attacks, as well as last year’s attacks in Istanbul, Bertomeu is confident that Istanbul will be wonderful hosts of the Final Four, like they were in 2012.
He also thinks that if the EuroLeague Final Four is moved away from Istanbul, then they are letting the “terrorists win”.
“We are worried, of course,” he said to Spanish media outlet El Mundo. “Statistically Turkey has a higher number of terror attacks but they are also happening in other countries. We won’t leave Istanbul, we can’t step back from our decision. If we step back, we’ll let them (terrorists) win. We have security guarantees because the Turkish government has more interest than us that nothing will happen in an international event.
“The response of the fans who bought all the tickets in less than two hours is the most powerful message we can send.”
As well as the EuroLeague’s showpiece event, the summer’s Eurobasket will mainly be held in Istanbul with the group phase being held at the Ulker Sports Arena in the Asian side of Istanbul, considered to be the more safer part of the city with the final round being held at the Sinan Erdem Dome.
Attacks are happening in other cities as well as Istanbul. Berlin, the scene of last season’s Final Four recently experienced a horrifying attack when a hijacked lorry crashed into a busy Christmas market in the heart of the German capital.