Euroleague Basketball A Licence clubs met today to discuss different topics to be presented at the upcoming ECA Shareholders Meeting, which will take place in London at the end of April.
The clubs defined the revamped structures for the continent's two top professional clubs basketball competitions, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and Eurocup, within the new Euroleague Basketball/IMG Joint Venture.
The Euroleague as previously approved will consist of 16 teams competing for the first time ever in a round-robin format under which all clubs play each other during a total of 30 regular season rounds. This will be followed by best-of-five quarterfinal playoffs and the Final Four.
Clubs from four domestic leagues (Adriatic League, German League, Spanish League and United Basketball League) will access the Turkish Airlines Euroleague through one-year B Licences, joining the 11 A Licence clubs (Anadolu Efes Istanbul, CSKA Moscow, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, FC Barcelona Lassa, Fenerbahce Istanbul, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, Olympiacos Piraeus, Panathinaikos Athens, Real Madrid and Zalgiris Kaunas) and the previous season's Eurocup champion. At Monday's meeting the clubs heard the criteria for potential future expansion of the Euroleague competition.
The structure will commence in the 2016-17 season, with the exception of the Spanish League's B Licence allocation. For the 2016-17 season only this spot will be filled by a wild card, whilst starting with the 2017-18 season it will revert to the Spanish League.
The Eurocup will see 24 teams playing in four regular season groups, with 16 teams advancing to the Top 16 phase, featuring four groups of four teams each. Eight teams will qualify for best-of-three quarterfinals, which will be followed by best-of-three semifinals and best-of-three finals.
The Adriatic League, Spanish League and United Basketball League will qualify three Eurocup teams each for the 2016-17 season onwards, while it is proposed that the German League qualifies two teams. The rest of the spots will be completed by AEK Athens (Greece); Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem (Israel), Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari, Dolomiti Energia Trento and Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia (Italy); Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania); Stelmet Zielona Gora (Poland); and Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul (Turkey). Five additional wild cards remain to be allocated amongst more than 10 candidates currently from Belgium, France, Italy, Lithuania, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the Adriatic League territories. For the 2016-17 season only, one of the five wild cards will be assigned to the Spanish League.
Euroleague Basketball executives presented a set of proposed rules to be applied when defining the 2016-17 Euroleague Regular Season calendar to ensure that the competition is as attractive as possible for fans and all other stakeholders.
Both the competition structures and licence allocations will be formally presented at the next ECA Shareholders Meeting.
The clubs also discussed recent developments within the European basketball institutional landscape deciding that the announcement made by FIBA Europe and some national federations that clubs participating in the Eurocup would cause sanctions: is an illegal treatment on the grounds that it is contrary to EU antitrust law; is also an arbitrary treatment targeted against Eurocup clubs; therefore the Euroleague clubs will proceed with the necessary legal actions protecting the rights of the clubs and that their solidarity with the Eurocup clubs will also be extended on a national level if appropriate.
The ECA Shareholders Meeting will discuss these and other topics on April 29, 2016, in London.