By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The games of all three Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Russian outfits, CSKA Moscow, UNICS Kazan and Zenit Saint Petersburg, and 7DAYS EuroCup’s Lokomotiv Kuban, have been suspended, Euroleague Basketball announced Monday.
Per the press release: “The ECA Shareholders Executive Board, meeting remotely on Monday, February 28, took the following decisions with regards to the war in Ukraine:
1. To suspend participation of Russian Federation teams in both the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague (CSKA Moscow, UNICS Kazan, Zenit St Petersburg) and the 7DAYS EuroCup (Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar).
2. Euroleague Basketball to continuously monitor the evolution of the situation. Should the situation not evolve in a favorable way, all regular season games versus Russian teams to be annulled to configure the leagues’ standings.
Euroleague Basketball and its clubs reiterate their firm commitment towards peace, against any acts of violence or war, and will continue to use their voice to promote respect, inclusion and diversity, values that sit at the core of the organization and its teams.”
“We are appalled by the terrible events taking place in Ukraine after Russia’s invasion. Euroleague Basketball and its teams are deeply-rooted in their communities,” said Euroleague Basketball CEO Jordi Bertomeu, “In a situation like the one we have today, it is our responsibility to support those communities and to voice their beliefs. Sports is not politics and should not be interfered in by politics, but we cannot remain passive when witnessing such a terrible social crisis with so much suffering of innocent people and, at the same time, seeing the support that our communities all across Europe have clearly expressed towards the Ukrainian population. I want to make clear that we are not blaming our Russian clubs, their management or team staff for any of these developments. Unfortunately, however, the gravity of the situation has left us no choice but to suspend all games involving Russian teams, at least for the time being, and to hope that this situation ends as soon as possible.”
The Euroleague Players Association also released a statement, supporting the decision.
Amid the war in Ukraine, ELPA and its members support today’s decision of the ECA Shareholders Executive Board regarding the suspension of participation of the three Russian clubs (CSKA Moscow, UNICS Kazan, Zenit St Petersburg). At the same time, players in all three teams have been put in a very difficult situation from a professional as well as from a personal perspective. ELPA will continue to provide logistical and legal support to those players, where needed.
ELPA is committed to peace and understanding among nations. We hope that a political solution to end the war in Ukraine can be found as soon as possible.