The International Basketball Federation (FIBA), world basketball’s governing body, has awarded hosting rights to its 2025 Asia Cup to the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah.
The kingdom has hosted the quadrennial competition once before in 1997 in the capital city of Riyadh, where the country finished fourth. Its best performance on the Asia Cup stage came two years later in 1999 when the country finished third in Fukuoka, Japan.
The only other time a Middle East country hosted the event was in 2005 when Qatar held the event in Doha.
Between its inception in 1960 and 2017, the tournament was played every two years, but since then switched to a quadrennial format.
Hagop Khajirian, executive director of FIBA’s regional office for Asia, stated: "The return of the FIBA Asia Cup to Saudi Arabia for the first time in nearly three decades symbolizes the Kingdom’s commitment to basketball’s growth and their passion for the sport.
"We anticipate a remarkable event that not only showcases the best of the Asia Cup but also highlights Saudi Arabia’s remarkable journey.”
The 2025 FIBA Asia Cup is the latest in a long string of events announced to be hosted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has been driven to host events from across the sporting world as a matter of public policy.
Most recently, Asian soccer’s regional governing body the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced Saudi Arabia will host the finals of the first two editions of its new Champions League Elite, a revamped version of the continent’s top-tier club competition.
The most prominent upcoming Saudi sports event however is the 2034 FIFA soccer World Cup, to which the Kingdom was confirmed as the sole bidder.
Some reports suggested that fellow interest party Australia had come under pressure from FIFA not to bid for the 2034 World Cup ahead of yesterday’s deadline to ensure Saudi Arabia’s staging of the tournament.
Within 72 hours of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation declaring its intent to bid for an inaugural World Cup hosting, more than 70 FIFA member associations publicly pledged their support for the kingdom, while the bid has been officially backed by the AFC president, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.
Dr. Ghassan Tashkandi, SBF president, said of the country’s ambitions following the FIBA Asia Cup announcement: "Hosting Asian basketball’s prestigious event in the Kingdom is an extension to the international events organized by Saudi Arabia in various aspects and sectors.”
“We in Saudi Arabia firmly believe that hosting prestigious sporting events like the FIBA Asia Cup provides us with an opportunity to grow the sport in the Kingdom and to showcase our basketball ambitions for the future.