Euroleague Basketball has announced that the 2017 edition of its Final Four end-of-season showpiece will take place in Belgrade, marking the first time the Serbian capital will host the contest.
The tournament will be staged at the Kombank Arena, an 18,400-capacity venue that is the current home of Serbian Euroleague outfit Crvena Zvezda.
The Kombank Arena has hosted a number of major sporting events, such as the EuroBasket national team competition in 2005, the 2007 European Table Tennis Championships and this year’s edition of the European Water Polo Championship.
Jordi Bertomeu, president and chief executive of Euroleague Basketball, said: “Belgrade has given so much to our sport that the chance to see the 2018 Final Four there is sure to make the Serbian capital an instant destination for all true international basketball fans. The fans there live and breathe basketball with the same passion that flows through every Final Four, making Belgrade and this event a perfect match.”
Sinisa Mali, Mayor of Belgrade, added: “The four best teams in 2018 will battle for the continental title here in Belgrade. That completely fits into our strategy, our goal and our promise to make Belgrade a capital of sports in Europe and in the region. I met Mr Bertomeu for the first time in 2014, and that's when we first talked about Belgrade becoming a candidate to host the Final Four. Realising that the idea was not easy, this project would not have happened without the support of Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.”
This year’s Final Four took place in the German city of Berlin, with Russian side CSKA Moscow finishing as champion after defeating Turkey’s Fenerbahçe in the final. Last month, Euroleague Basketball awarded the hosting rights for the 2017 event to Istanbul in Turkey.