By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
With FIBA using all of its pressure, 14 countries may be excluded from the Eurobasket 2017, however at this point eight of them have been officially banned and six more are warned.
Two letters were send yesterday to 14 national federation and in both cases the text was almost identical. However Spain, the Adriatic league countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montengro and FYROM) and Russia are already banned, while Greece, Turkey, Lithuania, Italy, Poland and Israel are just warned.
The difference is that the Spanish league (ACB), the ABA Liga and VTB United League have signed a deal with Euroleague, while in the other cases the deals have been signed between Euroleague and the clubs which want to compete in Eurocup. FIBA will not sanction countries which have Euroleague teams, but has turned its focus in Eurocup for obvious reasons.
Greece, Turkey, Lithuania, Italy, Poland and Israel are called to act and have until the 20th of April to do so. Only IBBA, the Israel basketball federation has an official reaction to that with the following short press release: “We will act according to FIBA rules. We will do what ever they tell us to do”.
It remains to be seen which will be the reaction of the 14 federation, considering the fact that in most cases the clubs which have signed a deal with Eurocup are not willing to back down.