By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
A difficult year for basketball and beyond the sport itself was summed up by FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis in a conference call held Wednesday featuring reporters from all around the world. The Basketball Champions League was among the several topics discussed.
“I think that three European cups would be enough to meet teams demands and preserve the strength of national leagues,” he mentioned regarding the future of European competitions.
The 2019-20 season not being canceled but completed in Athens with the final taking place October 4 displayed necessary flexibility, he noted. In the same context, reshaping the groups and reducing the number of Regular Season games for a better scheduling fit within these unique circumstances strengthened the status of BCL.
“This year has shown us how much flexibility we have in our hands, in changing formats or moving dates,” mentioned Zagklis.
Regarding the Olympic Games planned for this summer, he was confident on most international NBA players competing in the Tokyo tournament and in the preceding Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. Canada, Croatia, Lithuania, and Serbia will host the four tournaments scheduled between June 22 and July 4.
“We had meetings with both NBA leadership and NBPA, the NBA understood the importance of finishing the season before the Olympics,” said Zagklis, “We are confident that we will have all the NBA players in the Olympic Games and the vast majority – if not all – at the qualification tournaments.”
“From our side, there will always be vision and flexibility, we want to see more and more players coming”, he added, “A year ago two weeks in a calendar looked like a big problem. This year we have seen that there is always room for flexibility. FIBA’s aim is to unite the basketball family.”
Moving on to the current relationship with Euroleague Basketball, he pointed out a situation improving towards an agreement.
“Conditions are more and more time mature to find a solution. We won’t negotiate publicly or create any polemic publicly,” he claimed, “There have been discussions with Euroleague this year, on the level of restoring basic relationship and operational communications, but not beyond that. We want to enhance communications with the stakeholders, with the 11 clubs.”