The FIBA 3×3 Europe Cup 2020. That’s the official name for the most prestigious European national team competition in 3×3 basketball, a tournament that will take place in Antwerp in 2020. 3×3 basketball is an ‘ordinary basketball’ variety and is growing in popularity. It will make its debut on the Olympic scene during the 2020 Summer Olympics. 12 teams in the men’s and 12 teams in the women’s competition will battle for European titles on the Groenplaats in Antwerp, only one month before the Tokyo Olympics and exactly a century after the Olympic Games in Antwerp.
3×3 basketball is a sports in which two teams consisting of three players (and a substitute) play each other on a field half the size of a classic basketball game. The pace of the game is extremely high. Both teams try to score in the same basket and the shot clock alarm buzzes after only 12 seconds. The game is over after 10 minutes or when a team has scored 21 points. 3×3 basketball is the ‘urban’ sport par excellence. “Our Groenplaats already has quite a history as a 3×3 setting, because it has been the décor for an annual 3×3 tournament for different age categories since 2012. In 2020 our city will host the most important 3×3 basketball tournament from all over Europe. With such a major event we profile ourselves as the Urban capital of the Benelux. The atmosphere, the music and the games will make it truly unforgettable”, says Ludo Van Campenhout, Antwerp’s Deputy of Sports.
Marc Verlinden, president of Basketball Flanders, sees the EC in Antwerp as a golden opportunity for basketball in Belgium. “The fact that FIBA assigned us for the FIBA 3×3 Europe Cup 2020 proves that they believe, the same as we do, in Belgian basketball and particularly in our 3×3 project. The last years 3×3 basketball has made huge steps forward and we will keep on investing in its development towards a valued basketball discipline. We definitely aspire a medal during the FIBA 3×3 Europe Cup 2020. And in addition to that we hope to see 3×3 growing further, because a large 3×3 community is essential for the development of this unique discipline.”
In June 2020, Antwerp, the 12 best teams of Europe (12 in the men’s tournament, 12 in the women’s) will give their very best. The exact dates will be announced soon by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). FIBA organises the EC in cooperation with the Royal Belgian Basketball Federation, Basketball Flanders and Sportizon/Golazo. As host, Belgium is allowed to play in both competitions. And don’t underestimate the little Belgians, because there are many 3×3 talents in our country. The U18 Belgian Lions became World champions in China last year and the U18 Belgian Cats took the European title in Hungary last September.
Sportizon/Golazo, co-organiser of the event, sees the EC in Antwerp as the highlight of a long 3×3 tradition. “Being handed the organisation of the FIBA 3×3 Europe Cup is a recognition for our beliefs in 3×3 basketball as a sport and for the investments all those years to build a fine competition. Sportizon has been organising many 3×3 events all over Belgium since 2007. The city of Antwerp always supported us with that, so having the tournament here makes it extra special”, says Bruno Keustermans from Sportizon.
Alex Sanchez (Managing Director FIBA 3×3) is thrilled about the Europe Cup in Antwerp. “The historic city centre of Antwerp is one of the most beautiful urban backgrounds in FIBA 3×3 history. I am very excited with the EC in such a young and dynamic city, and that only one month before our sport’s Olympic debut.”
Ann Wauters, leading lady of women’s basketball in Belgium, is over the moon with the Europe Cup in her own country. “Playing 3×3 is so much fun: the setting and the music are giving it an instant summer vibe. It is a wonderful discipline and 3×3 definitely has added value for basketball. Organising a Europe Cup will give an extra boost to the further development and popularity of 3×3 in Belgium. And I think we are in the race for silverware. Look at our bronze medal in 2014 or at the golden medals of the U18 boys on the WC and EC last year. And our U18 girls won gold as well on this year’s EC.”