The Board of FIBA Europe has awarded EuroBasket 2013 to Slovenia. The unanimous decision was taken at the Board’s meeting in Munich, Germany, on Sunday.
This is the first time in history that Slovenia will organise Europe’s most prestigious basketball tournament and the announcement sparked celebrations among the Slovenian delegation who have worked hard to bring the Championship to the country and were present in Munich to support the bid.
Among them was the Minister for Education and Sport, Dr. Igor Lukšič who hailed the vote of confidence in his country.
“I would like to thank all the people who made this possible,” said the Minister. “This is a special day and a huge story for the country of Slovenia. It is the biggest event that we will organize in the near future. This event will have a great impact on economy, promotion, tourism and sports for many, many years to come.”
FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson had nothing but praise for the outcome of the vote: “I’m pleased to see Slovenia been awarded EuroBasket 2013. I had the privilege to visit this country three times during this calendar year. Once was for the opening of the beautiful new arena in Ljubljana and the friendly game between Slovenia and Spain; on another occasion was there for the anniversary of 60 years of Slovenian Basketball Federation. I like the people, I like the basketball – and I’m a fan of their fans. Congratulations from the bottom of my heart.”
A 35-strong Slovenian media contingent travelled to Munich to be present at this historic moment for Slovenian basketball, something that did not go unnoticed by FIBA Europe Secretary General, Nar Zanolin.
“I am really touched by the fact that there are so many Slovenian media here today,” commented Zanolin, addressing the media. “That means there is a trust in your country; it means there is a trust in you as a press because you’re very important in the whole aspect.
“I said it before but I would like to emphasize the fact that basketball in Slovenia is THE team sport. It was hard work but in the end we reached a satisfactory result and that was proved by the unanimous decision taken by the FIBA Europe Board today.
“EuroBasket is the second biggest sport event in Europe after Euro football and we are looking forward to a super event with 24 teams that will battle it out,” added Zanolin.
Slovenia Federation President Roman Volčič was in seventh heaven after the vote: “I am glad that the media followed us to Munich in such a big number and that we got the event of which we dreamt for a long, long time. Slovenia deserves this event and we will do everything to make it a best one. I want to thank everybody that believed in this and helped organise the candidature.”
Secretary General of Slovenian Federation Iztok Rems admitted of being extremely tired but also extremely satisfied: “”We started to dream about the Championship five years ago and two years ago the Federation Board decided for a candidacy and a bid. Our strength was in the fact that we did not care who our opponent would be, we wanted to do it our way.”
“It will be the biggest sports event in Slovenia since independence and I promise you we will do our best to organise the best ever event. We care about all fans from all over Europe and the World. I would like to already welcome them to visit our country and enjoy basketball.”
The tournament will take place in five venues in Slovenia in the summer of 2013. The dates have yet to be finalised.
Slovenia remained the only candidate for EuroBasket 2013 after the withdrawal of the other contender, Italy, earlier in the process.