London to host next 2 Final Fours

London to host next 2 Final Fours

ISTANBUL - Reuters
London to host next 2 Final Fours

CSKA Moscow’s Andrei Kirilenko has been named the 2011-12 Euroleague MVP. AA photo

The O2 Arena in London will host the 2013 and 2014 finals of Europe’s premier club basketball competition, Euroleague officials said yesterday ahead of this season’s final in Istanbul.

 The O2 Arena will also stage the Olympic basketball tournament in the 2012 Games and Euroleague President Jordi Bertomeu said he hoped the competition’s season-ending Final Four would reach new heights in London.

 “I am confident that the Final Four, which is already an unforgettable experience for Euroleague fans, will take another step forward in London,” Bertomeu told a news conference.

 Jay Marciano, the president of AEG Europe which owns the O2 Arena, added: “The O2 is no stranger to basketball as it has hosted regular season NBA games and we are proud that Euroleague has chosen it to host the next two Final Four tournaments.”

 “I am personally looking forward to it after two extremely successful Final Fours at brethren O2 venues in Berlin 2009 and Paris 2010,” he said.

Meanwhile, the stars of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague were honored at a ceremony on Saturday night. CSKA Moscow’s Andrei Kirilenko was named the 2011-12 Euroleague MVP and also trotted up to the podium to pick up his trophies as the Best Defender Award winner and a member of the All-Euroleague First Team.

Kirilenko’s CSKA teammate Nenad Krstic, Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos, Panathinaikos’s Dimitris Diamantidis, the 2011 MVP and until Kirilenko the only player to take home three end-of-the-season awards, and Erazem Lorbek of FC Barcelona Regal, rounded out the first team.