Basketball Champions League adds clubs from Turkey, Spain and Lithuania

Johnath Hamilton of Darussafaka in action against Julian Gumble of Segafredo Virtus Bologna in the EuroCup (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Basketball Champions League has announced that Turkish club Darüssafaka, Spanish team RETAbet Bilbao and Lithuanian outfit Rytas Vilnius will join the competition for the 2020-21 season.

Darüssafaka has won two Turkish championships and also won the 2018 edition of the EuroCup, the second-tier club competition organised by the Euroleague Basketball governing body.

Bilbao has competed in the top-tier Euroleague in the past but from next season will join the Basketball Champions League, which is organised as a 50-50 joint partnership between the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) and 11 top European leagues. Bilbao reached the Spanish ACB play-offs last year.

Rytas Vilnius, meanwhile, had competed in the EuroLeague for a number of seasons but in recent years has played in the EuroCup. The club has five Lithuanian championships to its name.

Basketball Champions League chief executive Patrick Comninos said: “Their presence underscores the successful growth and development of the competition, and we are pleased to see more clubs convinced by the truly pan-European nature of the Basketball Champions League and its focus on providing a great international competition for clubs based on sport results and merit.

“We are also thrilled to see that more and more clubs with ambitions to win a top European trophy are choosing the Basketball Champions League to pursue their dreams.”

In January, Fiba signed a strategic partnership with US sports and media investors GCBH LP, which will provide funding and expertise to drive the development of the Basketball Champions League.

Organisers are planning to host a one-off ‘Final Eight’ tournament for the 2019-20 season from September 30 to October 4 after concluding that the league will not be able to finish the campaign as planned due to Covid-19. The 2020-21 campaign will be the fifth season of the competition.