The Dubai era in the EuroLeague starts officially this week

2024-03-11T11:00:57+00:00 2024-03-11T11:32:33+00:00.

Aris Barkas

11/Mar/24 11:00

The Dubai project is expected to be formally approved on Wednesday bringing a major addition to the future of European basketball

By Aris Barkas/

After many twists and turns, the reports about Dubai joining the EuroLeague ecosystem are expected to be an official announcement on Wednesday. The clubs/shareholders are going to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to decide on giving an official green light, however, it’s already a given that the project has the majority secured.

To be exact, per Eurohoops sources, only two clubs have some objections, one due to some obvious geopolitical concerns on the club’s region and the second due to a different perspective on the project. There was also a third club that had concerns, however, per the same sources, this is not the case anymore.

Considering the support of the majority to the project, the fact that EuroLeague CEO Paulius Motiejunas and president Dejan Bodiroga are also supporting Dubai’s wish to be part of the EuroLeague and that the addition of Dubai is expected to be an organic process, the official decision at this point seems a formality.

Dubai will play at least next season in the BKT EuroCup, proving all the reports about major moves on the transfer market inaccurate, heralding the start of a new era that will not transform the format of the league overnight.

On the contrary, the new club wants to prove on the court that they belong to the top level and make solid steps towards their goal, having a business-like approach to the whole endeavor on and off the court, contrary to what was written already.

A new chapter

What’s true is the fact that Dubai’s interest has also motivated Abu Dhabi to knock on the EuroLeague’s door with an offer of 75M euros to host the next three Final Fours as Spanish media “Encestando” reported first, proving the interest in the region for basketball beyond the NBA.

After all, Abu Dhabi is also the home of pre-season NBA games and they also want to expand to the EuroLeague, because of basketball’s potential for growth. It’s not a coincidence that Qatar was awarded the next FIBA World Cup and that Emirates Airlines became the official sponsor of the NBA Cup, as the whole region is starving for basketball.

That’s why the Dubai case is much bigger than just the addition of a club in the EuroLeague. Meanwhile, both Motiejunas and Bodiroga are expected to extend their roles beyond the end of this season, getting credit for their work in the upcoming deal with Dubai.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday (12/3) the Dubai team is expected to join officially the Adriatic League, where they will also play next season.