By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The decision of Marshall Glickman to step down from his position as EuroLeague acting CEO at the end of his contract was not unexpected and the EuroLeague clubs-shareholders decided to pull the plug on an experiment that simply didn’t work.
That’s of course not Glickman’s fault, who had a very difficult balancing act to perform as the first EuroLeague CEO after the 20-year tenure of Jordi Bertomeu. However, in the months he was working as the EuroLeague CEO Gklikman wasn’t able to deliver at least a defined plan for the future and the notorious expansion.
EuroLeague shareholders expected those issues to be addressed in April, in the pre-Final Four meeting. Ultimately, there were no results in this meeting with talks about the management overshadowing everything else and nothing changed during the Final Four.
Gklikman is not a stranger to the EuroLeague landscape. On the contrary, he is also a consultant of Barcelona in the project of the new arena and his first presence on a EuroLeague Final Four dates back to 2003, also in Barcelona, as he said during his meeting with the press in Kaunas.
However, EuroLeague is a very peculiar animal with 13 clubs-shareholders who may on some occasions have conflicting interests. Plus everyone still cares mainly about winning on the court and secondly about the business side of things.
The Future and Dubai
It’s obvious at this point that Gklickman didn’t have real support from any of the 13 shareholders with Maccabi Tel Aviv being the only possible exception. So his decision was practically dictated and there was no way that his contract would be extended.
That leaves EuroLeague back to where it was when Jordi Bertomeu was dismissed. There’s an urgent need for a new CEO and the possibility of having someone from a club taking the lead, at least on an interim basis, can’t be excluded at this point.
The names of Zalgiris‘ Paulius Motiejunas, Efes‘ Alper Yilmaz, and Fenerbahce‘s Maurizio Gherardini among others are discussed unofficially. However, those are just some of the candidates and this is not a three-horse race. Practically, every GM of the 13 clubs can fill the position if it’s just temporary.
It’s too early to exclude anything and it seems that it’s just a matter of time – which EuroLeague is now trying to buy – for a proper search to start from scratch via official channels for a qualified CEO with a business background.
Meanwhile, the presence of Dejan Bodiroga as the president can serve as a guarantee of stability and continuity, giving a face to the competition in the ongoing talks with FIBA and also in the expansion plans, which are already delayed and must be finalized in time if the EuroLeague doesn’t want to push them even further back after the summer of 2025.
And while those plans may include giving long-term licenses to teams that are already part of the EuroLeague, the hot potato remains the expansion to London, Paris, and of course, Dubai, which is on a different level financially and gives to EuroLeague the ability to move towards the middle East, something that the NBA has already done with Abu Dhabi and FIBA with the decision to give the next World Cup to Qatar.