By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
After Wednesday’s meeting of the ECA Executive Board, EuroLeague re-irritated the will of the clubs to finish the season. However, this doesn’t mean that the EuroLeague lives on an island and doesn’t understand the terrible circumstances of the COVID-19 epidemic.
This might be a desperate fight, but the EuroLeague will continue to monitor the situation in hopes that until the end of May, it will become clear if basketball can be played again during this summer, probably without fans on the gym.
That’s practically the deadline to resume the season, and while there’s no official announcement yet, having the Final Four in May should be considered more than a longshot, as EuroLeague COO Edward Scott recently admitted on Eurohoops.
The best-case scenario, which at this point seems almost impossible, is for the EuroLeague to be able to continue in May. That’s the only way the current format can remain the same, with six rounds left until the end of the regular season.
After that, the format will be modified. According to one source, three different modification scenarios are currently on the table, all tied to different dates of resuming the season. According to a second one, the scenarios are practically two. One to have the current format without breaks between the regular season, the playoffs, and the Final Four, and the second is to have modifications depending on the time left to finish the season.
Taking also into account that the teams will need to have at least two weeks of practice before returning to action, games in June are inevitable for the season to finish.
As Zalgiris GM Paulius Motiejunas said, there’s no chance to see games in August. However, games in July are a possibility, with the teams being ready to reach deals with the players and extend their contracts until the end of the season.
While most contracts expire on the 30th of June, with the NBA free agency being delayed, a small extension is not expected to be a big issue.
All those plans, however, are at this point exercises on paper. EuroLeague remains in contact with all local authorities and the World Health Organization and the situation is more than complex. Τhe league has to follow the restrictions and decisions of ten different countries, among them Italy and Spain which are so far the European countries with the bigger casualties due to COVID-19.