Comninos on FIBA-Euroleague-NBA: Everybody agrees something needs to change

2022-05-07T12:00:11+00:00 2022-05-07T12:00:11+00:00.

Stefan Djordjevic

07/May/22 12:00

Patrick Comninos talked about the discussions between FIBA, Euroleague, and the NBA, the uncertainty among teams when choosing European competitions, BCL taking steps forward as an organization, constantly improving, the impact of war in Ukraine, and more

By Eurohoops team/

The Basketball Champions League CEO Patrick Comninos spent a solid hour of his time answering media questions following the Final press conference and one of the things that he also commented on was the discussions between FIBA, Euroleague, and the NBA.

“It is true that, since last summer, FIBA took the initiative to extend an invitation to both the Euroleague teams and management but also to the NBA, to sit at the table and try to finally figure out the best possible way to approach this situation,” Comninos said.

“The most important message that comes out of these discussions is that everybody agrees that something needs to change. Nobody looks at the current landscape and says – ‘No, this is fine, it works perfectly, everybody’s happy, commercially it makes perfect sense, we’re earning a lot of money, let’s leave it as it is.’ Not a single person around the room is of this opinion. At least there is a consensus there about the need to establish a level of clarity, and certainty, distinguishing the relevance of the national teams, domestic competitions, and international competitions.”

One of the main problems, in his opinion, has been the lack of clarity and uncertainty when it comes to teams choosing where to play. Many teams switched between Euroleague/EuroCup and BCL, and vice versa.

“The fact that teams like Monaco, Virtus, or others have made a change in their selection of participation in European competitions. That is a part of a bigger problem that exist in European basketball. The fact that there is no certainty, no security, consistency, or clarity as to how teams participate in Europe and that we have this inevitable but unfortunate situation every April, May and June where teams are sort of shopping around, moving around and trying to find their own bearings,” he said and added.

“The fact that we had in this season three of the past five EuroCup winners. The teams that won the EuroCup and went to Euroleague had that short-lived experience. I think this is not a situation that helps promote European basketball, does not help provide clarity and certainty that is required in order to commercialize the brand much better.”

With that in mind, but also many other things, BCL is focused on itself and continues to find ways to improve. One of the important was the organize the Final Four in a neutral venue for the first time.

“It remains a testament to our desire to continue moving forward with our competition and to continue developing it, always challenging ourselves but also always trying to find better ways to grow and improve. That is a very critical milestone for us in our, still young, history. We are just six years old but we believe that every day we make steps towards fulfilling our mission which is to continue supporting the clubs, working closely with the leagues, and developing a competition of the highest level.”

The competition was also working on adjusting the format year-by-year, in order to allow the teams to have a flexible schedule and make it possible for them to compete in domestic leagues as strongly as possible. This year’s finalists, Tenerife and manresa, have been the proof of it.

“The two best teams reached the Final but they have also been given an opportunity to perform in the domestic league, both within the top five teams in the most competitive league in Europe. For us, it goes hand in hand that being competitive in Europe should also give you an opportunity to be competitive in your domestic competition.”

Comninos also commented on the unfortunate development between Ukraine and Russia that also led to Prometey being forced to cancel the season. Going forward, the BCL will depend on the decision of bodies above themselves and those decisions should come soon.

“I would not say that we weren’t impacted because we, unfortunately, had to face the fact that a team that was performing quite well, Prometey, had to inevitably withdraw from the Round of 16. They were also forced to play a game outside Ukraine and this had an impact. As we look forward, I think we are a part of a much bigger environment that is affected and impacted by the unfortunate situation that is happening within our continent. We will follow what the sports governing bodies and FIBA decide, and there are expectations that over the next weeks there will be a decision on this matter.”