By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The FIBA Executive Director Europe, Kamil Novak talked to the Greek Sport-Fm radio about the dispute with Euroleague, the reasons behind the ban of specific national teams from international tournaments and what will happen with the upcoming Olympic Games and their qualifying tournaments.
“Essentially, Euroleague is one company, ECA, based in Luxembourg with eleven clubs as members”, said Novak. “Apart from the agreement with these eleven teams it has promised guaranteed spots in Eurocup to some specific leagues for the third, fourth, or fifth team, in case the leagues agreed with the company. This method shows the problems. It’s a trap for the domestic leagues. ECA offered contracts of three-year length to these teams. Each club has targets and every investor wants to see his team make a progress. How can this happen when all spots are closed before the beginning of the season? On the 20th of March, FIBA decided that with the exception of the 16 Euroleague teams, every league or team that would agree with Eurocup will face the consequences”.
Why did many teams decide to go with the plan proposed by Euroleague instead of joining FIBA? “When you are offered to play in a competition without taking into account, your performance or your ranking position, some teams will accept that. It might be good for a club, but definitely not good for the sport. FIBA adamantly believes that the fundamental principal of all European competitions is the teams’ participation according to ranking. When sports criteria do not matter, then why have domestic competitions? What is their meaning?”.
Everybody is talking about the recent decisions made by FIBA to ban some specific countries from international tournaments. “We have already sent letters to eight countries, regarding their ban from the international competitions of FIBA Europe. They are the leagues, or federations, that have agreed with Euroleague, as a whole. It has been asked from six other countries, including Greece, to make their position and decisions clear until the 20th of April”.
And what about the Olympic Games? “FIBA Europe will ask FIBA to extend the penalties on a global scale, with consequences for the Olympic Games and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The of executive board of FIBA will convene at the end of the week and the proposition of FIBA Europe will be discussed there. It is very possible to extend the penalties on a global scale”.
Is this move by FIBA an actual threat or simply a way to put some pressure on clubs or leagues in order to achieve its goals? “This is a very serious matter. Believe me, this is a move that wasn’t decided easily. There was a serious discussion in FIBA Europe before we decided something like that. These are serious matters and have to do with series consequences. Sometimes, mothers must take difficult and painful decisions to protect their families. This is what we are doing right now, in order to protect basketball. FIBA Europe had to make this step because of the circumstances that had been created”.