By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
A tradition that was paused for two seasons due to COVID, the unofficial meeting of Jordi Bertomeu with selected members of the press, including Eurohoops, continued this year.
However, there was no answer yet to the biggest question, what will be the future of Jordi Bertomeu, and who will be the new CEO of the EuroLeague. To be exact, while there’s a decision after a 6-5 voting between the EuroLeague clubs-shareholders to replace Jordi Bertomeu at the end of the season, he clarified that he does not have any official information about his possible successor, nor about his dismissal. So he continues to work as usual.
“I am very calm, I will accept their decision”, he said adding for the clubs that “the most important thing is the competition, not me. Ι continue to work and I am waiting”.
It’s not a secret that the six clubs who voted against him, including CSKA, are in the process of finding his replacement. On the other hand, the other five clubs may have not accepted yet a future without him, but the majority vote has spoken. A change of guard is expected, still almost a month before the 30th of June, the date on which Bertomeu should be replaced, nobody knows who will succeed him.
Meanwhile, EuroLeague has produced this season a 12% business growth, and a 22% interest growth in viewership, while preparing a new version of the financial Fairplay rules, which will include a salary cap model with the goal of 60-65% of the club budgets being allocated to salaries.
It’s a change from the initial target of 50% when the EuroLeague version of financial Fairplay was implemented back in 2015. As Bertomeu explained, the goal has to change due to a harsh reality: “We have now teams, where the money spent on salaries, is 150% over their revenues”.
And if that number does not surprise you, according to Bertomeu the average EuroLeague budget is currently 24 million euros. That’s much bigger than usual estimations and it’s also the first time that such a number is revealed by official lips, even in an informal brunch.
This number may also fall next season, cause EuroLeague is not expected to include CSKA Moscow on the court. Bertomeu admitted that this is more than a longshot, however, there will be a paradox since CSKA will probably remain a shareholder having the right to vote, with their license being on hold due to the war in Ukraine. The keyword here is “force majeur”.
That means an extra wildcard will be available for a total of three, with one of them ending in the hands of the ABA Liga champion.
Other than that, Bertomeu once more emphasized the new strategic markets for the EuroLeague growth, which remain France, Germany, the UK, and Italy.
He also admitted that Istanbul is a candidate for an upcoming Final Four, and Fenerbahce is eager to make it, especially so due to the fact that the Republic of Turkey is celebrating a century of existence.
And on the EuroCup front, the format is not going to change and there’s no intention anymore for long-term contracts with the clubs. According to Jordi Bertomeu, the competition is sustainable by itself and doesn’t need any financial support from the EuroLeague revenues.
Bertomeu’s future for the EuroLeague and his proposal to the clubs has not changed. It includes a league of 18 or 20 teams that will have only long-term licenses with clubs like Monaco moving already towards this direction and getting added if they have the same vision in the core of the competition.
But the issue remains that Bertomeu may not be included in this future after the next season and he feels that on many issues the clubs themselves are not on the same page. “I am disappointed that the consensus is lost”, he said, pointing to the public disagreement for the vote on how the final standings of this season were calculated.
“For 22 years we hade just two votings”, he said, pointing also to the fact that this season, two votings were needed and they were decided by one vote.