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Geneva to be new home for International Basketball Federation

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has named Geneva as its new home. Geneva's bid has caused friction with neighbouring Lausanne.

The unanimous decision by the FIBA executive in Munich represents a major coup for Geneva, as the basketball body is the fourth-biggest sporting federation in the world, bringing together 208 national federations and some 400 million players.

Geneva beat off competition not only from Lausanne, but also Madrid, Barcelona, Munich, Prague and Andorra. Key factors in Geneva's success were the backing of the Swiss Basketball Federation and a concerted campaign by the city's finance bosses.

Another significant lure was the proposed new headquarters - the Chateau Malagny in the Genthod area of the city, which will house not only the federation, but also a Hall of Fame museum.

It's fitting that FIBA has opted for Geneva, as it was there that the federation was founded in 1932. Its first president, Léon Bouffard, was also a local man.

On the surface, the other Swiss candidate, Lausanne, has been sporting to its local rival. The head of the city's sports department, Bernard Métraux, described it as being good for Switzerland.

However, other officials from canton Vaud were less happy. Some were quoted in the local press complaining that a tacit agreement between the two cities - that Lausanne should play host to sporting organisations, while Geneva concentrate on other international organisations - had been broken.

Lausanne already hosts the International Olympic Committee and 14 other sporting federations.

The rivalry may not stop with the FIBA decision. Geneva is determined to attract the new World Anti-Doping Agency, which is currently based temporarily in Lausanne, as well as other sports federations looking for a new home.

by Roy Probert

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