Australian basketball fans can expect more games such as the homecoming in Melbourne this Saturday with FIBA announcing changes to the qualifying format for the FIBA World Cup and Olympic Games.
As of November 2017, Australia will remain in the FIBA Oceania zone but will qualify through the Asia-Pacific region which will give fans the chance to see more of the national team through 15 months of qualifying ahead of the 2019 World Cup in China.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” said Basketball Australia CEO, Anthony Moore. “It makes the inaccessible accessible.”
“In the previous system we were turning up once every two years to qualify for a World Cup or an Olympic Games.
This provides the opportunity through the competition windows more regular opportunities for the Boomers to be on home soil playing home and away matches that actually mean something. They are genuine qualifying matches.”
Moving away from Olympic years, the World Cup has been pushed ahead to 2019 while the Asian Cup will be held in 2017 and run every following four years.
“We wanted to have a clear road to the major events,” said FIBA Director of Events, Predrag Bogosavljev.
“By introducing the qualifiers to the World Cup and the qualifiers to the [Asian Cup], played in the same windows and similar formats, it will help everyone to understand what is going on worldwide.”
“It’s a significant win for us,” added Moore. “It’s the opportunity to actually take our men’s national team all around our country. It’s a game changer.”
FIBA has plans to overhaul the women’s format in the near future as well.