By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
CSKA Moscow president Andrey Vatutin and head coach Dimitris Itoudis walked through the situation before and after the decision to postpone the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 27 game at FC Bayern Munich. The fixture was initially scheduled to be held at Audi Dome Thursday night, a few hours after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resulting in war.
“First of all, that was an awkward situation for us,” the Greek tactician told CSKA Basket TV, “We do sports and sports have to unite people. Sports is something, as I said, to unite people, and gives joy and happiness. But we were in an awkward situation to say to the players that the game is postponed. We do not possess more information. We wait for something to happen. We hope that things will be changed tomorrow and we are going to be ready to play.”
“All was going according to the normal schedule before games on the road. The team had completed preparations,” added Vatutin, “It is clear that everyone was aware of the news. We were ready to play. We are recording this interview in Bayern’s home arena. We had already arrived here before we learned that game will not take place. Not only our game but the games of all Russian teams in EuroLeague.”
Euroleague Basketball confirmed the game was postponed, shortly before the scheduled tip-off.
“They were also surprised,” Itoudis commented on his players, “I mean we were here, literally. They called us ten minutes before we reached the gym. We were ready to play. We had a morning practice. We had a last-day practice. I talked with my colleagues and Andrea (Trinchieri), players of Bayern. They were ready to play as well. They came over there. They wanted to play though. That is good. So, it is not on us to judge these situations. We want to play. We want to provide joy and happiness. Sport, as I said, unites people. Don’t forget, CSKA is an international team, it has a lot of players and coaches abroad. We want to play and defend the colors of CSKA.”
“For me, this is a strange and surprising decision that has nothing to do with basketball. It is clear that this decision is political. I know that Bayern was ready to play, but because of certain events that did happen, the team is returning home,” noted Vatutin, “Next, at noon on Friday, the meeting of the EuroLeague teams will be held to discuss the further participation of Russian clubs in EuroLeague competitions. So, everyone needs to be patient and wait.”
The 18 teams participating in the ongoing EuroLeague season are set to meet later today to take any necessary actions.