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European basketball's governing body, FIBA Europe, announced Tuesday that it has lifted the ban on international games taking place in Israel.
FIBA's statement came following long discussions with the Israeli Basketball Association and after FIBA's security supervisor, Walter Kaszelik, visited Israel.
FIBA Secretary-General Nar Zanolin wrote in his letter to the IBA that he is "happy to announce that it has been decided that all the home games in Israel will take place as planned."
The ban was placed on Israeli basketball due to the war in Lebanon. The decision to lift it came one month after European soccer's governing body, UEFA, decided to lift its own ban.
The main beneficiaries are Maccabi Rishon Lezion and Ironi Nahariya, who will play in FIBA's EuroCup; Hapoel Galil Elyon, who will play in the EuroCup Challenge Cup; and women's teams Anda Ramat Hasharon, Elitzur Ramle and Hapoel Tel Aviv, who will also participate in FIBA competitions.
The ban never involved Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem, who take part in the Euroleague and ULEB Cup respectively, competitions that are not under FIBA's supervision. The only side actually affected by the ban was the Israel national team, which was forced to play its Eurobasket 2007 home qualifiers abroad. Israel finished last in the qualifying group after losing four of six games and will play in a lastchance tournament next summer.
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