By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Basketball Champions League CEO Patrick Comninos took the stage ahead of the big final in Nizhny Novgorod and discussed the identity of the Final Eight event, the difficulties imposed in the process of setting it together, as well as BCL’s aims for the following years.
“This is always an event that is meant to be relaxing, open, and dynamic. It’s meant to be informal, you can see it from my casual attire. We don’t want it to be very formalistic”, Comninos said on a Zoom call with the accredited media.
“This is our pinnacle event for a season that we all acknowledge is a challenging one, when it comes to organizing an international competition and when we have to implement different protocols. We have approached this season with a clear vision to become one of our best ever”.
“We are now in Nizhny Novgorod for the Final 8, contrary to the final 4 format, due to calendar restriction. So far the event has been well organized. I need to thank the hosts, the club of Nizhny. They have made tremendous efforts and these efforts are more appreciated now that Nizhny is eliminated, they do their best despite the terrible disappointment. Their desire and commitment mean a lot. We still have two games left, so far all the messages from the clubs we receive, we feel very confident that this is one of our best events we’ve ever organized”, mentioned Comninos.
As for the goals of BCL and the progress of the competition in its five-year presence, he explained:
“We are taking baby steps. Our first big step was after year 3. We had acknowledgment from the fans for our principles and the inclusiveness of our competition. After year 3, we went out in the market, seeking investments. Our competition is based not strictly on an economical point of view, but on a know-how point of you. We are extremely pleased with the steps that have been taken. If I look ahead into the future, it’s all about solidifying BCL as a top-tier competition. We are very enthusiastic about the role BCL can take in reshaping the landscape of European competitions”.
“It’s part of our job to continue to assess and develop. We want our clubs to continue to grow as well. What we can say is that the monetary prize we expect for the next years will remain supportive and consistent for our clubs and we will work for that hand in hand in order to reach our goals”.
Setting up a Final Eight tournament in the midst of the pandemic has been one of the hardest challenges for the competition, as Conmninos states.
“The level of difficulty is linked to COVID restrictions, they take a greater organizational toll. However, that part had been relatively very smooth. Let’s not forget that in Russia games have been played with spectators recently. Concluding the season in front of spectators was really important for us”.
“In the future, we will look for neutral environments (for the final stage), so we will no longer be dependent on the participation of the hosts. We believe we have reached that stage of maturity and we are ready to take that leap and try that direction”.