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BASKETBALL

Home championship dream dashed for Nowitzki

Germany and three other European countries have pulled their joint application to host the 2015 European basketball championships, citing “irreconcilable differences” with international basketball federation FIBA.

Home championship dream dashed for Nowitzki
Photo: DPA

“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.

The Local/DPA/mdm

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OFFBEAT

Turkish fans brawl at wheelchair match in Germany

A mass brawl at a wheelchair basketball match in Germany between supporters of Turkish clubs Galatasaray and Besiktas left seven fans needing hospital treatment, police have confirmed.

Turkish fans brawl at wheelchair match in Germany
A file picture of an unrelated wheelchair basketball match. Photo: DPA

The fight erupted on Saturday afternoon during the Champions Cup game when around 60 supporters from the two clubs attacked each other using knives and baseball bats in the sports hall in Zwickau, near Chemnitz, but there were no serious injuries.

“The game had to be abandoned and seven fans were taken to nearby hospitals. Six of them were released after receiving treatment,” said a police spokesman in a statement.

A bus-load of around 50 supporters left the sports hall immediately after the fighting broke out and were briefly detained by police near Erfurt, which is 120 kilometres west of Zwickau, while their bus was searched.

Police are investigating.

This is not the first time violence has broken out between fans of the rival Turkish clubs, who are both based in Istanbul, at a wheelchair basketball match.

In 2012, 10 supporters were arrested after a clash during a game in Istanbul when fans sprayed fire extinguishers at each other and police used tear gas to break up the fighting on the basketball court.