EuroBasket 2015, basketball's European Championships, will not be staged in Ukraine after the eastern European nation was today stripped of hosting rights due to the political turmoil there.
A new bid process will now get under way, with FIBA Europe, the continental arm of basketball’s world governing body, open to single or multi-country bids.
All interested parties will have to present the required official documentation and guarantees by 31 July, with a replacement host or hosts expected to be announced by 30 September at the latest. The 2015 EuroBasket will run from 5 to 20 September.
Turgary Demirel and Kamil Novak, the president and secretary general, respectively, of FIBA Europe, had been in Ukraine this week to discuss the tournament with the local organisers.
A first meeting of the newly elected FIBA Europe board took place in Munich today, after which the organisation said in a statement: "The Board of FIBA Europe decided to relocate EuroBasket 2015 from Ukraine to a new destination(s).
"The decision was taken after a careful consideration of the continuous political situation and security issues in Ukraine, which deemed as less than favourable for the staging of such an important and demanding event."
However, FIBA Europe said it had been impressed with the efforts made by FBU, the Ukrainian Basketball Federation, and the improvements of the national team in recent years, and as a result Demirel and Novak "will start negotiations immediately with the Ukrainian side on the possibility of the country hosting EuroBasket 2017, provided that some necessary conditions are met."
Last month, FIBA Europe approved a request by the FBU to postpone any decision on EuroBasket 2015. Sasha Volkov, president of the FBU, said at the time that the additional weeks would give the federation the time window needed to "work on the best possible solution not only for Ukraine but also for the EuroBasket tournament and image itself."
In March, with Ukraine on the brink of conflict with neighbour Russia, the FIBA Europe board gave the FBU more time to provide the required guarantees to host the championships, but also authorised its secretariat to prepare a contingency plan in the eventuality of a need for the complete or partial relocation.
It is understood that some 16 countries have already expressed an interest in staging all or part of the biennial tournament.
Earlier this year, France put itself forward to host all or part of EuroBasket 2015.
Ukraine was the sole candidate to host the tournament,following the 11th-hour withdrawal of a rival joint bid led by France and Germany in December 2011, in protest at alleged last-minute changes in the hosting requirements set out by FIBA Europe.
France and Germany had aimed to jointly host the event, with some preliminary round games being played in Milan, Italy, and Zagreb, Croatia.
Meanwhile, FIBA Europe has finalised the calendar for this year's 3x3 EuroTour, with Split in Croatia and Gdynia in Poland completing the nine-stop line-up.
Split will stage the opening event of the season, on 28 and 29 June, with Gdynia staging the seventh leg on 16 and 17 August.
Other events have already been awarded to Zanka (Hungary), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Antwerp (Belgium), Riga (Latvia), Tallinn (Estonia) and Copenhagen (Denmark),
The season will end with the inaugural 3x3 European Championships in the Romanian capital Bucharest from 5 to 7 September. It will act as a qualifying event for the first European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2015, at which 3x3 basketball will be one of 19 sports to feature.