By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
The Munich Regional Court issued its position today on the case of the Euroleague vs FIBA and the temporary injunction for the possible sanctions towards federations and clubs.
The Euroleague press release is the following:
On 23 June 2016, the Munich Regional Court I communicated its position on the formal complaint that was presented in May 2016 by Euroleague and Eurocup clubs, domestic leagues and Euroleague Basketball, on which it issued a resolution on 2 June that prohibited FIBA and FIBA Europe from sanctioning, directly or indirectly, clubs, leagues or national federations should their clubs choose to participate in Euroleague or Eurocup competitions. The Judge also prohibited them to exclude national teams from participating in competitions organised by FIBA and FIBA Europe, anytime this sanction is imposed due to a decision by clubs from a certain country to register in Euroleague Basketball competitions.
Today’s decision, which follows the allegations presented only by FIBA Europe that they should be able to sanction clubs, leagues and national federations for such reasons, does not question the core substance of the case, namely the illegality of the sanctions that were recently imposed by FIBA and FIBA Europe on national federations as well as the threats of sanctions on clubs and leagues. The temporary injunction has been lifted with regards to FIBA Europe by the judge due to procedural reasons. Euroleague Basketball considers that the FIBA Europe letters of 15 April 2016 officially notifying eight national federations that their senior men’s national teams were suspended, effective immediately, was the key date after which a temporary injunction should have been requested; whilst the judge considered that the request should have already been filed previously by the applicants.
In Euroleague Basketball’s view, this decision does not affect the current status of FIBA and FIBA Europe’s threats, which have already been revoked as announced publicly by FIBA Europe. In any case based on the initial ruling of the Munich Regional Court I’s judge on 2 June on the core substance of the case, Euroleague Basketball will continue monitoring the situation defending the freedom of choice for European clubs and domestic leagues to participate in the European competitions that they consider in their best interest. Euroleague Basketball will take any and every action needed to protect clubs and domestic leagues from any sanctions, threats of sanctions, as well as illegal pressures coming from FIBA, FIBA Europe or National Federations.
FIBA’s view on the matter is this press release:
FIBA Europe on Thursday welcomed a decision by a Regional Court of Munich to cancel a temporary injunction barring FIBA Europe from taking statutory disciplinary measures vis-à-vis national federations, national leagues and clubs in Europe in relation to ECA’s anticompetitive practices.
This ruling came after the court heard all legal arguments by FIBA Europe, which was invited to present its position before it for the first time only last Tuesday.
As to the merits, the court indicated that the applying leagues and clubs were bound by CAS arbitration clauses in the statutes of FIBA Europe, which blocks them from litigation in national courts.
In addition, the court decided that the motions of all applicants lacked urgency. This was due to the fact that the applicants had not clearly mentioned the decision of the board of FIBA Europe of 20 March 2016, even though they were fully aware thereof. Instead they had tried to persuade the court that only the later letters from FIBA Europe to the national federations of 15 April 2016 triggered the claims which they asserted. After having been made aware of these circumstances by FIBA Europe, the court decided that the applicants had waited for too long before taking legal action and that they were therefore barred from preliminary proceedings.
Thursday’s decision comes as no surprise to FIBA Europe. Even though founded on procedural aspects, the ruling vindicates the position of FIBA, FIBA Europe and their national member federations as the ultimate basketball authorities in European basketball.
The preliminary injunction was previously issued by a single judge on 2 June, upon the request of Euroleague Commercial Assets (ECA) along with 13 other applicants. As such, it is evident that the application for the injunction was only filed to coincide with the registration period for the Eurocup competition.
FIBA Europe then filed an objection against the injunction on 6 June, on the grounds that it did not contain all relevant facts which would have excluded such injunction if they had been presented to the court in the first place. The arguments of FIBA Europe led to the court lifting the injunction which it previously had issued.