The countdown to a champion is underway at the start of the week that will see the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four bring basketball at its finest to beautiful Istanbul, Turkey! Already, the venue for the biggest weekend in the world of basketball, state-of-the-art Sinan Erdem Arena, is decked out in Turkish Airlines Euroleague colors and ready to receive the Final Four teams: CSKA Moscow, F.C. Barcelona Regal, Olympiacos Piraeus and defending champion Panathinaikos Athens. Turkish Airlines Euroleague planes are scheduled to pick up all four teams - in Moscow, Barcelona and Athens - on Wednesday to carry them to Istanbul in time for official charity events, press conferences and practices on Thursday. Then, of course, unparalleled basketball action begins with the semifinals on Friday.
Istanbul is ready, too, with an arms-wide welcome for the more than 15,000 fans, media and special guests coming to attend the Final Four and enjoy a unique city that straddles Europe and Asia. Both visitors and locals will have their own dedicated space in the Final Four Fan Zone now in place at historic Taksim Square and ready to open on Friday for the entire weekend.
While the Fan Zone is open to all, Euroleague Basketball reminds everyone that the Final Four is officially sold out and only ticketholders will be permitted to enter Sinan Erdem Arena, where a local police contingent of 1,500 officers will be on hand to ensure a secure environment for all fans. Turkish law allows for the expulsion from the country of anyone who provokes violent incidents, while Sinan Erdem Arena is equipped with video surveillance.
Among the provisions of the Fans Code of Conduct for the event, ticket-holders should not bring either keys or coins to the games, as they are prohibited and must be forfeited before entering the arena. Fans from each of the qualified teams – as they identified themselves when purchasing their tickets – will have one designated entrance door each to Sinan Erdem Arena through which they will be allowed to enter. Euroleague Basketball, the local organizers and the participating clubs are committed to ensuring that fans can show their devotion as always at a safe and sure Final Four.