|03 April 2014|
|Reggio Emilia General Manager Alessandro Frosini, FIBA Europe Secretary General Kamil Novak and Reggio Emilia Executive Director Alessandro Della Salda at the press conference in Bologna|
Representatives of FIBA Europe, tournament hosts Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia and of the municipality of Bologna officially presented the EuroChallenge 2014 Final Four at a press conference in the Italian city on Thursday.
The venue of the 2014 Final Four will be the historical PalaDozza arena, a property of the city of Bologna, which has been hosting basketball games since 1956 and has an almost 6,000-strong seating capacity.
"I am really pleased to be here, at such a beautiful venue for the EuroChallenge Final Four," said FIBA Europe Secretary General Kamil Novak.
"Italian basketball has a long tradition, especially in Bologna and I am happy that it has been possible to organise an event of this kind in Italy.
"I would like to thank the Reggio Emilia club for assuming this responsibility as I am certain that this event will be a great success.
"I would also like to remind you that the U20 European Championship Women is taking place in Udine this summer."
Bologna is a traditional hotbed of European basketball and home to storied clubs Virtus and Fortitudo.
The capital of the Emilia Romagna region last hosted a EuroChallenge Final Four in 2009, when Virtus defeated Cholet 77-75 in the final, although on that occasion the venue was Unipol Arena (widely known as PalaMalaguti), in Casalecchio di Reno.
PalaBigi arena, the home court of Reggio Emilia, has a seating capacity of just 3,500 and does not fulfil all requirements for an international event of this magnitude.
"We were happy with the reply to our request of Bologna's town hall, which came so swiftly, despite the infamous slow pace of Italian bureaucracy," said Reggio Emilia's chief executive officer Alessandro Dalla Salda.
"We might not have the traditions of Virtus and Fortitudo, but basketball runs in our veins too.
"It's very nice to play at a venue like the PalaDozza, which has left Italian sport with so many great memories.
"Our aim is to organise a spectacular Final Four that will leave a lasting pleasant memory.
"From a sporting point of view, the team's objective is to reach the final so that we can see a packed arena and inscribe the name of the club in European history pages.
"This year's European experience has made us grow and organising the Final Four is something of a reward for our efforts.
"Although we are still working on logistical issues and TV rights details, we hope we will manage to make a good job despite the time constraints."
Luca Rizzo Nervo of the municipality of Bologna sports' sector and Massimo Zanetti, marketing director of the Best Union agency, also addressed the media representatives during the press conference.
The Final Four is set to take place from 25-27 April.
Reggio Emilia will go up against Turkish side Royal Hali Gaziantep in one semi-final, while Triumph Lyubertsy of Russia will clash with Szolnoki Olaj of Hungary in the other.
The organisers also announced that ticket sales for all Final Four games will commence online on Friday, at www.vivaticket.it