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Dubai’s Shabab Al Ahli to host return of Basketball Champions League Asia

Dubai’s Shabab Al Ahli to host return of Basketball Champions League Asia
9 May 2024 08:56

KUUMAR SHYAM (DUBAI)

The Asian branch of FIBA, the world basketball body, and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai have signed a partnership agreement for the hosting of the Basketball Champions League Asia 2024.

The Dubai club will play host to the event from June 9-15. A week after it was decided by FIBA Asia to take the tournament to the Emirate, the deal was formalised at the Arabian Travel Market exhibition at the World Trade Centre on Wednesday.

The ceremony was attended by Majid Sultan, Executive Director of Shabab Al Ahli Dubai, Hagop Khajirian, FIBA Executive Director - Asia, and Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), part of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism.

Eight teams will take part in the tournament.

Domestic champions of China, Japan, Philippines and South Korea will qualify directly.

Two teams qualify through a two-round qualification tournament for East and Southeast Asia, while another two will be determined through the FIBA West Asia Super League.

Three of these eight teams, Pelita Jaya Basketball (Indonesia), NS Matrix Deers (Malaysia) and Busan KCC Egis (South Korea) have secured their spots. The tournament has a rich history and began in 1981 but missed out on a few years sporadically.

This will be the third time that the UAE is holding Asia’s prestigious club competition, which was previously called the FIBA Asia Champions Cup, and the second time in Dubai.

“This club competition in Asia boasts a rich history and tradition,” said Khajirian, “yet this year’s edition holds special significance as it marks the debut of the rebranded Basketball Champions League Asia. It represents another strategic milestone in fulfilling FIBA’s objective of reshaping the landscape of international club competitions."

“I am thrilled and eagerly anticipating the tip-off in Dubai. For this, I want to extend my gratitude to Shabab Al Ahli Dubai and the UAE Basketball Association for their support and facilitation in organising this inaugural edition in Dubai.”

UAE played hosts in 2001, when Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad won the title, and 2004 when Lebanese club Sagesse beat Al Wahda in the final in Sharjah.

The Lebanese club has won the title three times, the most by a team.

Shabab Al Ahli are not only bringing it after a gap of 20 years, the tournament is getting revived after the COVID outbreak with a new brand identity.

“We at Shabab Al Ahli are delighted to host the event,” said Sultan, the club executive.

“The trust bestowed upon us by FIBA Regional Office Asia underscores Dubai’s stature as a premier destination for athletes and sporting events. With our outstanding infrastructure and talented team, we embrace the challenge and pledge to deliver an extraordinary edition.”

The official thanked the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism for its cooperation and support “in unveiling the BCL Asia 2024 hosting agreement contract signing” at the popular Arabian Travel Market.

“This partnership not only captures the spotlight among attendees، but also underscores the synergy between event organisers and the host city, amplifying anticipation for the upcoming tournament and nurturing industry bonds,” he added.

Al Khaja said: “Sport is a central pillar in our tourism and events ecosystem, and the BCL Asia is set to attract spectators from around the world, as well as appealing to basketball fans among our resident population.”

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