RIGA – Organization of FIBA Women's EuroBasket in Riga and chances of basketball players to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are under threat, said the board of the Latvian Basketball Union (LBS).
LBS reported that the National Sports Council on March 28 decided not to allocate funds for organization of the women’s European championship in Riga, while the Riga City Council decided to co-finance just 25 percent of the estimated costs, the board plans to convene an extraordinary meeting of the LBS council and also inform the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) on the threat to organization of the event in Latvia.
In 2017, LBS informed the Education and Science Ministry and the National Sports Council on the plan to organize FIBA Women’s EuroBasket in Riga in 2019, and the estimated co-funding from the state was set at EUR 600,000. On March 29, the National Sports Council officially supported the initiative, and on June 24 FIBA granted Latvia the right to organize a part of the championship in Riga.
From November 2017 until January 2019, five payments for the total sum of EUR 435,000 have been made in line with FIBA requirements. At the same time, in November, the Education and Science Ministry was informed on an objective increase of estimated costs by EUR 247,240, mostly on the account of higher accommodation, catering and transport costs and increase of FIBA standards.
On March 28, the National Sports Council did not support allocation of these additional costs.
LBS reports that thus there is a serious threat to organization of the even tin Latvia. If the championship is not held, Latvia will lose the EUR 435,000 already paid to FIBA, and FIBA may impose disciplinary and financial sanctions, including disqualification of the Latvian basketball teams.