Credit: Twitter-Scanpix
Credit Twitter-Scanpix

The 2024 Paris Olympics will take place two and a half years from now, but the venue where the basketball tournament will be hosted has already raised much controversy.

The first week of the tournament should be played in Hall 6 of the Porte de Versailles, where the annual Agricultural Show takes place in the early spring. Later on, the final phase of the Olympic tournament will be contested in Bercy and the AccorHotels Arena.

Vincent Poirier

Vincent  Poirier
Team: Real Madrid
Position: C
Age: 28
Height: 213 cm
Weight: 106 kg
Birth place: France

However, the images that have been released, depicting donkeys and cows taking up residence where world-class athletes will be competing, are not at all flattering for the event's organizing committee.

New York Knick's guard Evan Fournier, an Olympic vice-champion in Tokyo, spoke of a "lack of respect" towards the athletes, who will perform in the venue of the Agricultural Show during the first round.

"If that’s really what’s happening, that’s big s...t. It doesn’t make sense," Fournier told French newspaper L'Equipe.

"The major sport of the Olympics is athletics. But as a team sport, basketball is number one," he argued.

One major issue is the fact that the ceiling is located only nine meters from the ground and one wonders where and how a giant screen could be placed there. Even FIBA ​​seems worried about this decision, which hardly corresponds to the standard of Olympic competition.

"We are Olympic vice-champions, we're playing at home, and they don’t guarantee a real room? If so, they’re suckers and they’re kidding us," Fournier continued.

"And they really think of playing Team USA, whose stars are worth tens of millions and play in giant arenas every night, under these conditions?" he rhetorically asked.

Nicolas Batum was also furious with the decision to host the event in such a location and let his rage be known on Twitter:

"Are you really gonna let the best team sports of the event be played in this location? I don’t know who’s in charge but you have to do better for basketball!"

The organizers decided to relocate the basketball tournament due to the need to have a ceiling of 11 meters for badminton and 12 meters for rhythmic gymnastics. That's why a 9-meter ceiling, the lowest ever, will be hosting the games at the Parc des expositions.

In addition, other problems may arise, in particular that of insufficient ventilation which can generate humidity.

"I understand that at the Games, each discipline must have its venue," Fournier continued.

"But badminton attracts how many people in the stands seriously? I am disappointed, angry. It makes me hate. Something like that would never happen in the United States," he pointed out.

Credit FIBA

Despite complaints and doubts, according to L’Equipe, the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games is not currently working on a plan B.

"And if there is a moisture problem, injuries?" Fournier asked.

"We are not immune to NBA franchises putting pressure on their players not to go there," the former Orlando Magic player warned.

Real Madrid's Vincent Poirier was also critical of the strange choice of installation:

"I don't know who is in charge of selecting the venues for the 2024 Olympics but bro, you will have to wake up because you are disgracing us in the eyes of the world up there," the French big man wrote on Twitter.

Credit FIBA.com

Former international forward Ali Traore, who had won the silver medal in the 2011 EuroBasket in Lithuania, didn't mince words either:

"What? Ok, so we decided to be the world's laughingstock in our Olympics," the 37-year-old wrote on Twitter.

"Basketball is the number one team sport of the competition, with world stars and we are going to welcome them like this?" he wondered.

"It's as if sport in France is only seen as a hobby! People who decided that must have thought, 'Basketball is an indoor sport, and here is a room'," he concluded.

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