Qatar is going to host another World Cup, adding basketball to the sports portfolio of a tiny country with long-term Olympic hosting ambitions.
The International Basketball Federation picked Qatar to host the 2027 edition of its marquee men’s World Cup on Friday. There was no vote between competing bids.
Doha will stage every game of the 32-team event in pre-existing venues, FIBA said, also citing upgraded subway and public transport networks that were completed for last year’s men’s soccer World Cup.
Qatar faced fierce criticism during a massive, 12-year construction project for the soccer World Cup because of the gas-rich nation’s treatment of its migrant labor force. FIBA made no reference to labor or human rights issues in announcing its decision, which came on the eve of the 2023 tournament draw.
Asked how it considered rights issues, FIBA said in a statement that with no construction needed in Qatar “time and cost savings from not building any new venues will be focused into delivering the strongest possible social legacy.”
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“With all of the teams playing in the same city, fans can plan everything far in advance and enjoy a unique experience since all venues are within 30 minutes of each other,” the Switzerland-based governing body said. “Additionally, all venues to be used for FIBA’s flagship men’s event are already constructed, while widely used green technologies will help in delivering the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2027 as a carbon-neutral event.”
FIBA said other candidates it did not identify entered the hosting process, but Qatar was “the first to present a bid fulfilling the standard conditions.”
The Qatari government said in a statement its “celebrated portfolio of mega-sport event hosting gave FIBA the confidence to confirm the decision without hesitation.”
Qatar’s Hashim Zaidan, left, and Australia’s Sam Mackinnon are shown playing basketball during the first round Group C match at the World Basketball Championships in Hamamatsu, Japan, on Aug. 24, 2006. The International Basketball Federation has picked Qatar to host the 2027 edition of its men’s World Cup. (AP Photo/David Longstreath, File)
The No. 89-ranked Qatar team will qualify automatically as host. Qatar last played in the event at the 2006 world championships, and lost all five of its games.
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The women’s World Cup in 2026 will be hosted by Germany, FIBA also decided Friday. The 16-team tournament will be played in Berlin.
Qatar is the third straight Asian host of the men’s tournament. China hosted in 2019 and the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia will host this year’s edition from Aug. 25-Sept. 10. Spain is the defending champion.
Qatar’s sports hosting peaked but did not stop with the soccer World Cup. The basketball World Cup will be one of its major events before hosting the 2030 Asian Games, which will use some stadiums built for the soccer tournament.
A long-term goal for Qatar is to host the Olympics, although the next available opportunity for the Summer Games is the 2036 edition because hosts have already been picked for 2028 and 2032.
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A Doha candidacy was being prepared for the 2032 Games when the International Olympic Committee pushed ahead quickly to pick Brisbane without rival bidders being put to a vote.
The 100-strong group of IOC members includes the emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who joined the Olympic body in 2002 as one of its youngest ever members at the age of 21.
Doha tried to enter the hosting contests for the Olympics of 2016 and 2020 but the IOC denied it candidate status. The main barrier was the IOC insisting on the games being held in July-August when temperatures in Doha routinely top 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).