The 2022 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four, which was due to be held in Berlin, will take place instead in one of the most iconic basketball cities in the world: Belgrade. The Final Four dates have been changed, as well, with the semifinals to be played on Thursday, May 19 at 18:00 CEST and 21:00 CEST, while the third-place game and championship game will be on Saturday May 21 at 16:00 CEST and 19:00 CEST, respectively.
Four years after it successfully hosted the 2018 edition, where Real Madrid lifted its 10th continental title by defeating Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, the Serbian capital will once again welcome the Final Four. In so doing, Belgrade will join Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin, and Istanbul as the only cities to host the event more than once this century.
Euroleague Basketball and AEG agreed to postpone the holding of the Final Four in Berlin based on the current pandemic situation and health measures imposed in the German capital.
The decision was taken to give EuroLeague fans the most likely opportunity to attend the event on-site while also guaranteeing the participating players access to the Final Four city. Germany’s health measures, if prolonged, would not allow a large number of fans to attend the Final Four and might even prevent some athletes from participating.
“After much deliberating, we have taken what we consider to be the best decision for our fans and players. Our main goal is to respect the competition’s integrity and reduce uncertainty for all our stakeholders. Even while we understand the measures that any government approves to minimize the impact of COVID-19, we could not put the participation of our players in the Final Four at risk,” Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball CEO, stated.
“On the other hand, this will be just a postponement, and we look forward to returning to Berlin. We couldn’t ask for a better alternative now than Belgrade, a city that is automatically identified with basketball. I want to thank the Serbian government and the Municipality of Belgrade for welcoming us, and we all hope that during the next-to-last weekend of May, the pandemic situation will allow us all to enjoy a thrilling Final Four once again.”
The magnificent Stark Arena will be the Final Four venue once again. Built in 2004, with a capacity of approximately 15,500 spectators for a Final Four configuration, it is one of the most popular arenas on the continent, having attracted a large number of the biggest and liveliest crowds in European basketball history to EuroLeague games over the last decade.
“The city of Belgrade wishes to thank Euroleague Basketball for trusting us to host this year’s Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four. This is a great victory for Belgrade, a city of sports, where the World Athletics Indoor Championship will be held next month. Belgrade has already hosted the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in 2018, which we believe was the best organized in the history of this competition. We will try to make this year’s tournament an even more successful one,” Goran Vesic, Deputy Major of Belgrade, said.
“The organization of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four is not only important for the development and affirmation of basketball and sports in general, but also for the promotion of Belgrade as a European tourist destination. I am very proud to welcome all basketball fans who will land in Belgrade to witness such an important event, as we will have the opportunity to show them the true meaning of our main message, ‘Visit Belgrade.’ I once again wish to thank our Euroleague friends for trusting us!”