“We withdraw from the bidding process with a heavy heart as we were extremely enthusiastic and positive about the bidding process,” said Ingo Weiss, the president of the German Basketball Federation (DBB) in a joint statement with his French counterpart Jean-Pierre Siutat. “We rely on values such as good governance, compliance, and transparency and base our decisions and our actions on these values.”
Germany had hoped to play host to portions of the tournament along with France, Croatia and Italy. But the decision means Ukraine has the only remaining open bid.
The decision will be particularly upsetting for Dirk Nowitzki, the Bavarian power forward, NBA superstar, and face of German basketball, who hoped to cap off his basketball career by playing in his homeland in 2015. Now it is unclear if he will participate in the tournament at all.
“Of course we are very disappointed,” said Wolfgang Brenscheidt, the DBB’s secretary general, saying Nowitzki is a leading force on the German national squad.
There were clearly political tensions involved involved in the decision to pull out of the bidding process, although all of them have not yet been made clear.
Weiss told the DPA news agency that in recent weeks, FIBA had demanded changes to the bidding process and had asked the federations to line up a major sponsor that could guarantee a payment of €4 million.
Officials also said FIBA had ignored the fact that Ukraine was late with its application material and also turned in incomplete documents.
Seeing controversy and strife brewing, the four partner countries decided to quit despite having invested hundreds of thousands of euros in the bid – €350,000 in the case of the DBB.
FIBA declined comment on the situation.
But Weiss said German basketball fans shouldn’t give up all hope. He said he hopes the DBB hosts the European championships in the future – perhaps as a joint host with France in 2018.
“It remains our goal to host a tournament in Germany,” he said.