MVP mulls bidding for 2023 World Cup
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - March 21, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said yesterday the Philippines may consider bidding to stage the 2023 FIBA World Cup after it was cleared that the event could be held in more than one country similar to the 2002 FIFA World Cup where South Korea and Japan were joint hosts.

The possibility of a hosting partnership was taken up by the FIBA Central Board at the House of Basketball in Mies, a Swiss village in the Geneva outskirts, last week. SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan and Barrios attended the two-day meeting. The 26-man Central Board is convened to meet twice a year.

The bidding process for the 2023 FIBA World Cup will be launched soon. FIBA will decide the next host in June next year. The Philippines and China were the finalists in the bidding to host the 2019 FIBA World Cup. China won the Central Board vote, 14-7, after the final bid presentations were made in Tokyo last year.

“The possibility of having bids consisting of multiple host countries, along with single-host country bidders, was approved (by the Central Board),” said a FIBA media release. “FIBA will send out a circular letter to all its National Member Federations this summer to launch the bidding process. It will conclude in June 2017 when final bid presentations are to be selected and the choice of the host or hosts made.”

In 2002, the FIFA World Cup was hosted by South Korea and Japan, the first staging of the quadrennial soccer competition in Asia. In the semifinals, Seoul and Saitama hosted the two games. Yokohama was the site for the final and Daegu for the third place playoff. The FIBA World Cup has never been staged in more than one country since its inception in 1950. There have been 17 FIBA World Cups and Asia hosted only two editions, Manila in 1978 and Saitama in 2006. China will be the third Asian country to stage the FIBA World Cup in 2019.

“We’ll definitely look into the possibility of bidding again,” said Barrios. “MVP is tickled by the possibility. After we lost the bid for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, we thought the next opportunity for us to bid would be for 2027. But with the option of multiple host countries, FIBA may consider bringing the World Cup back to Asia. We’ll study the alternative of a joint proposal and look for a viable partner. The countries that come to mind are Singapore, Malaysia and Korea. It’s an interesting possibility. Singapore, for instance, has the resources to host the World Cup and basketball is gaining popularity in the country. While Korea is an option, maybe we could partner with another Southeast Asian country so that the games are held in the same region.”

Barrios said there is no rule prohibiting a continent to host the FIBA World Cup back-to-back. Europe, for instance, staged the World Cup twice in a row with Turkey hosting in 2010 and Spain in 2014.  The first five World Cups were held in the Americas with Argentina hosting in 1950, Brazil in 1954, Chile in 1959, Brazil in 1963 and Uruguay in 1967.

Barrios arrived in Geneva for the FIBA Central Board meeting and the Rio Olympic draw last March 9. Pangilinan, SBP vice chairman Ricky Vargas, executive assistant Abet Dungo and Dr. Raffy Bejar flew in the next day. The FIBA Central Board meeting was held on March 11 and 12. The SBP delegation left on March 13.

“MVP was very participative in the Central Board discussions,” said Barrios. “It was the first Central Board meeting of the year and several crucial issues were taken up. Aside from the Central Board members, FIBA executives and regional executive directors also attended. Mr. (Hagop) Khajirian was present as FIBA Asia regional executive director, a position that was formerly known as secretary-general. The regional executive directors from the four other FIBA zones of the Americas, Europe, Oceania and Africa came, too. Among the FIBA executives who attended were communications director Patrick Koller, sport and competitions director Predrag Bogosavljev, 3x3 director Alex Sanchez and National Federations and sport director Zoran Radovic.”

A key topic in the Central Board agenda was the progress of the 3x3 game. It was confirmed that FIBA will submit a proposal to the IOC for the inclusion of 3x3 as a medal event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Board was also given a status report on the transformation of the five FIBA zones into FIBA subsidiaries. The Board approved the guidelines that will govern the FIBA World Cup qualifiers under the new competition system to take effect in November 2017.

Regarding China’s hosting of the 2019 FIBA World Cup, the Board approved the replacement of Suzhou by Shanghai as one of eight host cities subject to a positive evaluation of the switch after a FIBA assessment visit next month. The other host cities are Beijing, Nanjing, Wuhan, Foshan, Dongguan, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. FIBA Oceania president Burton Shipley was designated chairman of the coordination committee for the 2019 World Cup which will feature 32 teams in the biggest conclave ever.

 Barrios said he met separately with Bogosavljev and media and marketing services director Frank Leenders on the progress of preparations for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila on July 5-10. “Everything is proceeding smoothly,” he said. “The TV group, led by director Paul Stimpson, will be coming to Manila next month. We expect to host a successful qualifier with record attendance and TV ratings. We promise an experience of a lifetime for all the players and visitors.”

Barrios said FIBA appreciated Pangilinan taking time from his busy schedule to attend the two-day meeting. “When MVP arrived in Geneva, he already had a meeting with a business associate right at the airport,” he said. “FIBA invited the Central Board members to visit the Olympic Museum in Lausanne and meet with IOC president Thomas Bach but while MVP wanted to go, he had to beg off because of business commitments. That’s how busy he is. FIBA honored MVP by inviting him to be on stage for the Olympic draw. FIBA has a special place in MVP’s heart. We all love basketball and that’s why we all love FIBA.”

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