The European Championship for Small Countries has been moved away from Limerick to be hosted in Dublin this summer.
The decision was made by the International Basketball Federation, FIBA, due to the logistics of hosting the tournament in Ireland during the Covid pandemic, said Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O'Byrne, who also sits on the FIBA board.
The seven-team men's tournament was initially due to take place in Limerick in 2020 before being postponed to June and July 2021. It will now take place from August 10 to 15 at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght.
A FIBA statement said they approved a contingency proposal “in parallel” with the switch to Dublin to “find an alternative host if Ireland is unable to organise”.
O’Byrne said it was a “mixed bag of news” to get confirmation that the tournament is due to go ahead in Ireland but had to be moved away from the initial venue at UL.
“Naturally we are delighted to see our senior men’s and women’s teams being able to compete at the European Championship for Small Countries this summer.
“The decision to move the men’s tournament from Limerick was a difficult one, but it was made after consultation with all the stakeholders involved, including the University of Limerick.
“FIBA made the call based on logistics, which are naturally more difficult during Covid-times.
“I’d like to thank UL for all their hard work and dedication and naturally we’d like to host a major tournament there at some point in the future.”
Ireland senior men’s coach Mark Keenan added: “The switch to August will give us more time to prepare, which is particularly important because our domestic players have not had game-time this season.
“Our players who are based abroad have been returning home over the last few weeks to join up with the squad and this will also give us a longer period to integrate them.
“The tournament being switched from Limerick to Dublin is an understandable one, given the times we’re in at the moment.”
The women's tournament will take place in Cyprus from July 20 to 25.
Before that, the Irish senior men's and women's teams will return to the court at the 3x3 Euro Cup in Constanta, Romania, from June 26 to 27.
Ireland’s U16, U18, and U20 teams won’t get to play in European Championships this summer, with all Youth Championships cancelled.
The Youth Championships are to be replaced by the ‘European Challenge 2021’, a round-robin tournament that will have a maximum of six countries in a group. Hosts for each tournament are still to be decided.
“Basketball Ireland will begin discussions with the coaches, players, and parents involved and see what is possible this summer,” said O'Byrne.