A Basketball Champions League seeking to become the continent's premier club competition is set to be introduced for the 2016 to 2017 season, despite a rival Euroleague competition format having been unveiled earlier this month.
International Basketball Federation (FIBA) President Horacio Muratore was joined by FIBA Europe President Turgay Demirel and FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann at a meeting in Rome where the remodelling of the European club competitions was discussed.
The national federations of France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain and Turkey were also present at the meeting, with FIBA claiming the participants “unanimously decided” to continue work on developing their Champions League format.
This will become the top European club level competition, they hope.
Declaring they would seek to make “necessary modifications” to ensure the desired sporting principles and openness of the competition, FIBA stated they would reach out to all clubs and leagues that are interested in participating in the remodelled competition system.
The current proposal would see a 16-team tournament start in early 2016, featuring eight guaranteed spots for Euroleague A-license clubs and the national champions of France, Germany, Italy and Lithuania.
It is claimed the Champions League format would help force clubs to adhere to Financial Fair Play rules and increase standards and financial rewards for teams.
The competition is designed to replace the Euroleague as the top level competition.
However, Euroleague Basketball revealed they had signed a 10-year agreement with sports, events, media and fashion company IMG, to alter their existing competition to create a “true European league”.
Their new format would see 16 teams, featuring 11 permanent clubs, participate in a round robin regular season of 30 rounds, with the top eight advancing to a best-of-five play-off stage.
The victors will then advance to the Euroleague Final Four, where the semi-final and final of the tournament will take place to crown the continental champions.
Additionally the second tier Eurocup competition, which currently features 36 teams, would have 24 clubs competing in a 10-round regular season which will be followed by a 14-round Top 16.
There will then be a two-game quarter-final and semi-final home-and-away series, culminating with the Championship game.
Euroleague had stated their clubs would present the new project to FIBA and they will invite them to join their work on growing both club and national team competitions.
But, with both parties appearing committed to pressing ahead with their rival tournaments, a compromise appears unlikely.
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