Leicester thrilled to stage British Basketball's World Cup qualifier

Leicester thrilled to stage British Basketball's World Cup qualifier
By Sportsbeat

08/08/2017 at 17:42Updated

Leicester will welcome British Basketball's season opening World Cup qualifier against Greece with open arms this year, according to Leicester Riders chairman Kevin Routledge.

The Leicester Arena, home to the Riders - the current British Basketball League champions - will host the contest on Friday, November 24 as Great Britain launch their bid to qualify for the World Cup in 2019.

And following the announcement, Routledge admits he cannot wait to see the British side line-up in the Midlands.

"We are delighted to be staging such an important game for the Great Britain men in Leicester at our new Arena, and we are certain the atmosphere will be electric," he said.

"Everyone knows the quality of the Greek team, and no doubt they will draw their own fans from expats in the area.

"But we are also sure that Riders fans, and basketball fans from throughout the East Midlands, will want to create a noisy and winning environment for the Great Britain team."

Great Britain, who failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016, will also play Israel and a final team chosen from the pre-qualifying tournament as Joe Prunty's side look to qualify for their first FIBA World Cup.

The decision to move Britain's home match from London's Copper Box comes as part of an initiative to bring basketball to venues across the country.

British Basketball Chief Executive, Lisa Wainwright, added: "One of the messages I have heard most often is that we need to stage more senior internationals in different parts of the country.

"We've listened and we're acting on that desire. This is another part of the jigsaw where the whole game works together and we look forward to working with our partners to put on these games."

Sportsbeat 2017