By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Khimki Moscow Region and Zenit Saint-Petersburg followed a different path prior to the modification of the Special COVID-19 Regulations for the ongoing Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season and remain equally separated following the approval by the ECA Shareholders Executive Board Monday.
Khimki’s general director Pavel Astakhov and Zenit’s general manager Alexander Tserkovny commented on the current situation, even if in Khimki’s case the option not to play was not on the table even with the previous set of COVID rules, since they had eight registered available players. So if they did deny to play or travel, they would lose the game 20-0 no matter what.
“We respect EuroLeague, we respect our fans, we love basketball very much,” Astakhov still told Russian news agency R-Sport, “We took youngsters, traveled to Spain and played as good as we could. But it turns out that we could have stayed home, ignore everybody, lose the games 20-0 and have these games rescheduled, as other teams did. It seems to me these cases violate sport principles. Every team should be equal in the tournament, but it was proven that some EuroLeague teams are more equal than others.
In this context, it is logical for EuroLeague to cancel the results of the last three Khimki games when we were not at full strength due to COVID, and reschedule them. That would be fair. Otherwise, it is called a double standard. Such decisions do not add any prestige to the organization.
Reacting and correcting the COVID regulations is correct, but the points indicated are troubling, to say the least. Especially the clauses applying to games played before the modification of the regulations. The EuroLeague rules are basketball law for participating teams and the law is not retroactive. If a law is approved, it is applied from the moment of approval. And when you can retroactively cancel the results of games played or not, you can do anything.
When five players fell ill, we asked EuroLeague to postpone our games in Spain. And against Zalgiris, we only had five senior players and were forced to add three players from our youth squad. However, EuroLeague refused to postpone our games in Spain. Before the approval of the new regulations, the EuroLeague asked all clubs for their input. We presented everything mentioned here in the letter to EuroLeague.”
The team based in Saint-Petersburg instead initially took 20-0 defeats, but under the modified regulations will have those contests rescheduled.
“Having shown flexibility in the current situation, the EuroLeague once again demonstrated its high level of organization, the decision to change the current COVID regulations after the start of the season speaks of the orientation towards the clubs,” argued Tserkovny, “I hope that what happened at our club for reasons beyond our control will now help the rest of the clubs to avoid the problems we are facing. I think that thanks to this policy, the EuroLeague season will be as full as possible.”