By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
Eurohoops was one of the European media which one year ago revealed the intention of FIBA to get involved again in the top level of European club competitions and covered the dispute between Euroleague and FIBA since then.
Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu and FIBA Executive director Europe Kamil Novak had the chance to present their case. After the recent Euroleague open letter the hostility between the two sides doesn’t need any further explanation.
From the first moment Eurohoops’ position was that a division in European basketball will not be beneficial for anyone. Still, the conflict which was raging behind closed doors for more than a year is now at its final stages and the following facts demonstrate that Euroleague has the upper hand.
- In total, eleven of the biggest clubs in Europe, the core of the Euroleague, have committed to the joint venture with IMG for the next ten years and FIBA is not willing to sanction them in any way.
- The VTB United league, despite the fact that Andrei Kirilenko as the new president of the Russian federation attacked Euroleague, was the first league to join the new project.
- The Adriatic League, despite opposing views by the national federations of countries from Yugoslavia, decided to finalize a similar deal with the Euroleague.
- Germany so far has kept a low profile in the conflict, but a deal with the Euroleague similar to the one signed with VTB is negotiated.
- Three Italian teams, Trento, Sassari and Reggio Emilia, decided to sign three-year deals in order to play in Eurocup, despite the fact that the Italian federation had taken an active pro-FIBA stance.
- In France, led by Tony Parker in the role of ASVEL’s owner, the clubs decided to ask from the federation and the league to let them play in Eurocup if they wish to and to not be confined only in competitions organized by FIBA.
- FIBA presented its alternative for the top Europen club competition, the Basketball Champions League, which initially was quite similar to the new format of the Euroleague. FIBA couldn’t persuade the top clubs to join their own tournament.
- FIBA used the sport results of the clubs in their domestic leagues, as a banner, a system which is used traditionally in European sports. But only after Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Fenerbahce, Anadolu Efes, CSKA Moscow and Maccabi Tel Aviv rejected its offer.
- While numbers like 150 million euros per season were rumored to be offered as revenues by the new FIBA organized league, the Basketball Champions League, in its current form, will give back to the teams 4,42 million euros. The Euroleague will share to its 16 clubs a minimum of 36 million euros.
The reaction of FIBA at this moment is a threat to ban the national teams of the countries which will have clubs playing in n Eurocup, from the Eurobasket 2017 qualifiers . There will be no sanction for the clubs playing in Euroleague. If FIBA does that, it will end up shooting its own leg and the hard truth is that in many cases the big clubs will be happy to keep their players away from the national teams, so that they can remain rested and fresh, focused only in club competition games. FIBA will end up punishing itself and not the clubs…
After all, the NBA decided to do the same, keep its players out, with the permission of FIBA during the qualifiers. In some cases the NBA teams are happy to keep their players out of the official tournaments under the clause of the FIBA-NBA agreement on the matter.
Unfortunately for FIBA, they are currently between a rock and a hard place. Their spasmodic reactions are not suited to the history of the international basketball federation which in the past worked together with a closed league, the NBA, opened the door to the “professional” stars from the other side of the Atlantic to the global stage and created the basketball explosion which we are experiencing today.