FIBA plans “have to adjust”

2016-01-16T21:24:37+00:00 2016-03-03T19:09:53+00:00.

Aris Barkas

16/Jan/16 21:24

The new reality that made FIBA reconsider its initial Champions League project, the role of the national federations and the idea of a totally closed Euroleague

By Aris Barkas/

In a very interesting interview in the December issue of the German basketball magazine “BIG”, FIBA Executive Director Europe Kamil Novak spoke about the changes that FIBA had to make in the new Champions League competition.

While just recently France and Italy – with the exception of EA7 Emporio Armani Milano – commited to have their clubs play only in FIBA’s competitions and not in Eurocup and Euroleague and plans about a 32-teams Champions League have leaked, it’s obvious that FIBA is reacting to the decision of the 11 top European clubs to sign with the new Euroleague project.

As Novak admitted: “The requirements have changed. Now we have to adjust.It’s true that the investor wished to have 8 A license clubs. Also to have a guarantee that money which was invested will come back. But because the clubs went in another direction we have to rethink. It’s true that investment and numbers must be evaluated again. What I know is that in autumn 2016 there will be a new league. With how much money, we have to see in the next couple of months”.

According to Novak, FIBA has to continue the “remodelling” of the European clubs competitions and his point is the following: “The wide base in basketball didn’t benefit from the European high class competition. And it’s doubtful, if this is going to change with the new Euroleague plans. We have decided to allocate clubs strictly and only via sport criteria. The feedback of the clubs shows a deep wish for such a system. Every club in Europe must have the right to dream about the highest European competition and to participate in it through sport qulification. And if a top club finish the season on the sixth spot, then they can’t participate for one year”.

However, here comes the tricky part. With Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Laboral Kutxa, Maccabi Tel Aviv, EA7 Emporio Armani Milano, Anadolu Efes, Fenerbahce and Zalgiris Kaunas already signed elsewhere, there’s a pretty good chance that the champs of Greece, VTB League, Spain, Israel, Lithuania, Italy and Turkey will be playing in Euroleague. So the sport criteria will apply only in the teams which will be available, maybe the highest ranking teams not playing in Euroleague.

The announcement made by the Italian and the French side was expected and it’s the result of the pressure by the local federations. Since the recent Eurobasket it was evident that France was ready to follow FIBA – and the fact that Tony Parker’s ASVEL is playing in FIBA Europe Cup made it even more obvious – while Italy is trying to secure one of the three pre-Olympic tournaments. The commitment about Italian teams not playing in Euroleague and Eurocup can be considered a logical trade…

With many teams still on the fence, like Unicaja, AEK and Galatasaray, old summer rumors about Russian clubs ready to join FIBA still circulating and national federations all over Europe working as FIBA messangers, we may have to wait until the last moment in order to learn which teams will play where.

On the other hand, the Euroleague needs stability for its 16 teams format and five spots are still open, with one of them going to the 2016 Eurocup winner. A logical reaction from them could be to pick four more teams and transform into a totally closed league. However Euroleague strongly denies at the moment this notion. In any case we expect a hot summer and a very peculiar 2016-17 season with a total of four competitions and more than 100 clubs playing in them…