Russia pulls basketball World Cup bid, blames negative image

MOSCOW (AP) Russia has withdrawn a bid to host the 2023 basketball World Cup, saying that international criticism of the country’s athletes was to blame for the decision.

Russian Basketball Federation president and former NBA All-Star Andrei Kirilenko says the bid was pulled ”taking into account the negative attitude of the world sports community to Russian athletes and our country’s sport in general.”

Russia’s doping scandals across various sports have caused it to be stripped of numerous Olympic medals, though Kirilenko didn’t directly link the decision to doping scandals.

That leaves ruling body FIBA with two joint bids for the tournament, one from Argentina and Uruguay, the other from the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.

Turkey was also a bidder but dropped out Tuesday, saying it wanted to focus on developing basketball at home.