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FIBA chooses Spain to host men's 2014 worlds

Posted May 23 2009 3:52PM

GENEVA (AP) -- Spain won the right to host the men's basketball world championship in 2014.

The board of governing body FIBA picked Spain on Saturday ahead of rival candidates China and Italy. Spain beat Italy 11-8 in a second round of voting after China was eliminated.

Spain's sports minister Jaime Lissavetsky hailed the victory as the latest success in an era of sporting achievements. Spain is world champion in basketball, won football's European Championship last year and has world-leading talent in tennis player Rafael Nadal and cyclist Alberto Contador.

"We are living just a magic moment," Lissavetsky told The Associated Press. "It's a very good day for us. It's a way to recognize our effort not only by Spanish sporting triumphs but also by our capacity to organize."

The 24-team tournament will be played in Madrid plus Bilbao, Granada, Seville, and Las Palmas on the Canary Islands from Aug. 30-Sept. 14, 2014.

Spain's winning bid team said it needs to spend euro314 million ($439 million) building or renovating three or four arenas.

Venues in Granada, Las Palmas and Seville are scheduled for completion in 2012, while organizers want to create an 18,000-seat arena in Madrid.

Lissavetsky said the government, regional and city authorities would guarantee the infrastructure needed.

"We are ready to organize that. We will have no problem and the central board of FIBA have recognized this effort," he said.

The championship also calls for an operating budget of euro27.5 million ($38 million).

FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann told Spain's bid team their victory was "a promise to further develop basketball in your country and the world."

The Spanish national tourism office, Turespana, will now join FIBA as a global commercial partner for 2010-14.

Spain won the 2006 worlds in Japan when Pau Gasol -- then a Memphis Grizzlies player but now with the Los Angeles Lakers -- was the tournament MVP.

It beat Greece 70-47 in the final. The United States beat Argentina in the bronze-medal match.

Spain will defend its title when Turkey hosts the next tournament in 2010.

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