— Published 2 September 2022

A not so shared will

Pierre-Olivier Beckers, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Paris 2024 Games, confirmed on Wednesday 31 August at a press conference at the OCOG’s headquarters in Saint-Denis that the thorny issue of the site for the preliminary phase of basketball has not yet been resolved. “We want to take the time to analyse it,” explained the Belgian leader, referring in particular to the questions of humidity at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Lille, the option proposed by the Paris 2024 OCOG, but also of transport and recovery of players. True. Pierre-Olivier Beckers also assured the media that there was a “shared will” to validate the Lille site. Less true. According to our information, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) is still hostile to the idea of moving the first phase of the Olympic tournament to the north of France. The body has never wanted this option. It still does not want it, at least in the proposed configuration. The new bone of contention concerns the air conditioning of the site. Tony Estanguet, the president of the OCOG, explained on Wednesday 31 August, at the end of the visit of the coordination commission, that the first studies had shown “that it was possible, if necessary, to air-condition” the Pierre-Mauroy Stadium. For FIBA, air conditioning should not be a possibility, but a certainty, particularly to ensure the safety of players in the event of the ground becoming slippery due to humidity. The final decision on the choice of site will be made by the IOC. But according to the rules and customs, the Olympic body cannot impose on an international federation a competition venue that it does not want.