In a decision made by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) on Friday, the final phase of the World Cup 2023 will no longer be played at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Instead, the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City will host knockout playoffs of the world championship.
The quarterfinals is scheduled to take place from September 5 to 6, the semifinals on the 8th, and the final on the 10th.
The Central Board of FIBA made this decision due to the “traffic conditions” in the metropolis.
“The main concern leading to the decision was the requirement to provide consistent and swift transfer of the teams and fans to multiple games over the six days of the Final Phase. Despite completing the construction of a toll road connecting Metro Manila with the Philippines Arena in 2021, it could only be tested in real conditions since November 2022, after COVID restrictions were lifted,” read the statement.
“Since then, several events took place in that venue, including the last Window of the World Cup Qualifiers, identifying serious traffic and transport concerns.
“Despite improvements tested with transport and traffic engineers, the Board came to the conclusion that an event with multiple sessions in one day, like the Final Phase of the World Cup, couldn’t be delivered to the standards required for the players and fans experience,” it continued.
FIBA also moved the first two games of Gilas’ group to the Philippine Arena.
The Philippines was supposed to play its pool play games at SM Mall of Asia Arena. Gilas can either be in Group C or D.
“In order to keep a key component of the bid, which was to establish a record of attendance at the World Cup, the Board decided to play the two games of the Opening Round for the group of the Philippines in the Philippines Arena,” the statement read.
The draw for the World Cup will be held on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.