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Paris Olympics scrap basketball venue amid player criticism

The venue for the group phase of Olympic basketball at the 2024 Paris Games was ditched Thursday amid criticism from some French players that the indoor hall was unsuitable.

Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert led protests at the choice of venue in western Paris, Le Parc des Expositions de la Porte de Versailles, which is more used to hosting higher education fairs, France’s main agricultural show and wine shows.

“Paris 2024 Organising Committee and FIBA (international basketball federation) today agreed to work together on identifying a new venue for the preliminary round of the men’s and women’s basketball competitions, which will no longer take place at the Arena Paris Sud,” a joint statement read.

While the Bercy Arena will still be used for the final round of the men’s and women’s basketball competitions, a different venue will be chosen for the group phase due to the “specificities” of the Versailles site, they added.

“Paris 2024 and FIBA will continue working closely together to identify a new venue for the preliminary round, which will meet Olympic requirements whilst respecting Paris 2024’s guiding principles on environmental and budgetary responsibility.”

The French capital’s iconic Place de La Concorde will play host to the 3×3 basketball competitions.

Jazz’s rebound king Gobert had even questioned the height of the ceiling at the old venue.

Although measuring nine metres, within FIBA regulations, it remains very low for basketball and would prevent the installation of the hanging digital cube over midcourt.

“I don’t want to play in a hall where I’ll bang my head when I shoot, it makes no sense,” Gobert said before the change was announced.

“It’s a missed opportunity for me. I love agriculture, but it’s true that for playing basketball, well…

“It’s clear that it’s obviously a little lack of respect for our sport and what our team has managed to achieve over the last few years.”

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