Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv coach David Blatt and his assistant Guy Goodes are both hopeful that Ukraine will be able to host Eurobasket 2015 despite the ongoing political unrest in the country.
Blatt, who coached Russia up until the London 2012 Olympics is hoping for a peaceful end to the ongoing situation in Ukraine and also revealed that his son is due to play for the Israel national youth side in the crisis-hit nation this summer.
“I’m both watching and following closely the situation in Ukraine like many people are and I’m concerned for the world as much as I am for the sport,” Blatt said.
“I’ve always believed that sports should be the gateway to solving political problems and I hope things will cool down more quickly than people expect them to.”
The Maccabi coach, who will travel to neighbouring country Russia tomorrow to prepare for a Euroleague Top 16 game with Lokomotiv Kuban is hopeful that the Ukraine can deliver their promise of an unforgettable Eurobasket next year.
“I’m hopeful that Eurobasket 2015 could take place as scheduled and that all Eurobasket competitions be played,” he said. “I have a son, Tamir, who plays for the Israeli youth national-team and he’s expected to compete in Ukraine this summer, so I hope everything will be okay.”
Maccabi assistant Guy Goodes, who is also the assistant coach of the Great Britain national side isn’t thinking too much about Eurobasket next year and, like Blatt, hopes for a happy ending.
“I’m not really thinking about the Ukraine in terms of Eurobasket 2015 because we are so far away from when it’s supposed to happen that the situation over there can change,” Goodes said. “I remember during the 2003-2004 season the situation in Israel was also dangerous and people were calling out to relocate the Euroleague Final Four from taking place in Tel Aviv.
“I’m confident things in the Ukraine will eventually workout.”
The FIBA Europe board along with the Local Organising Committee and the Ukrainian Basketball Federation will meet at the end of March to be updated on the situation in the Ukraine.
Basketball writer David Pick in Tel Aviv contributed to this report.