Raanan Katz to fly children to a select game in Southern Cyprus.
Following the transfer of the EuroBasketball qualifying game in Cyprus, the businessman would pay for a special plane to fly 15o children to the game.
Basketball fans will not see Israel’s national team this summer. FIBA announced yesterday that the games would be moved to Netherlands and Bulgaria, on 24 and 27 August, respectively. There will be no games in Israel.
After the bad news, businessman Katz responded to the demand made to him and agreed to pay a special aircraft, at a cost of 45 thousand dollars, to come out to Cyprus on Sunday afternoon’s game against Montenegro and bring about 150 children to the game. Mr. Katz has been the main sponsor of the team for two years, donating 100 thousand dollars every season.
More Basketball Association will attempt to modify the decree. The security situation has affected multiple teams’ practices. The first tournament practice, which was scheduled to be held in Rishon Lezion, was moved to Moscow, and then they decided the FIBA game with Montenegro will not be played in the country. Today’s announcement was already a record.
CEO Yaacov Ben-Shoshan asked members of FIBA to delay the decision until the weekend, but they did not respond – probably because of the pressure of Bulgaria and the Netherlands, among others, who wanted a quick answer. The ceasefire also does not really help.
Bensoussan will approach FIBA and Basketball Association of Bulgaria and the Netherlands to request them to reconsider. “I’m not going to give up,” he said yesterday on the subject.
This is a hard blow to Israel’s professional basketball team. On paper, Israel and Montenegro were to fight for leadership of the house. Now recently, Montenegro, has a clear advantage with its home court in Podgorica. The Israeli team not only loses its home court advantage, but they also suffer physically because of the many flights.
Team players and professional staff will now endure long journeys to play basketball. They will be abroad between 9th and 28th, except for two brief trips: one in Nicosia after the game in front of Montenegro and the other after the game in Podgorica Foreign Affairs on the 20th.
Pan across the professional, economic damage is also not easy, especially given the fact that the games were supposed to be in Nokia and Rishon Lezion. The Association said yesterday that the loss would be up to a million dollars.
Israel already had a similar experience in 2006. Following the Second Lebanon War, Israel was not allowed to be a host country and Sofia, Bulgaria became the host country. Let’s hope that this time the results will be different, because Israel finished last in a group with Bosnia, Macedonia and Portugal in this summer’s tournament.
The Basketball association has not yet decided where the two games will be held in front of Bulgaria and the Netherlands.