By Stefan Djordjevic/ email@example.com
VTB League announced today (14/7) the changes for the 2019-20 season which include fewer teams and a different playoff format.
As VEF Riga is leaving the competition due to funding cuts, next season will feature 13 instead of 14 teams. Riga may return in the 2020-21 season.
There won’t be a replacement for Riga as no clubs meet the necessary requirements according to the honorary league president Sergey Ivanov: “The regulations clearly state what the club should have for the league to consider its application. First of all, this is an arena with a capacity of 5,000 people and a confirmed budget of at least 3 million euros. To date, there are no candidates that meet these requirements.”
The second change is about the number of playoff games. So far, the series were played in a best-of-five format but it will ba changed to a best-of-three format next season.
This is due to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague expansion – which will also include three Russian clubs (CSKA, Khimki, Zenit) – and due to the 2020 Olympic Games because of which FIBA insisted for the domestic leagues to end no later than July 12.
“The format of the playoffs will change – all series, including the final one, will go through to 2 wins in the 1-1-1 format. Because of the Olympics in Tokyo, FIBA turned to all of the world’s basketball leagues to finish the season on June 12, no later. Therefore, we had to compress the calendar”, Ivanov explained.
Photo Credit: VTB United League