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Basketball Champions League to cut teams, increase prize money

The board of the Basketball Champions League has announced that the number of participating teams will be cut from 40 to 32 next season, while prize money for the winner of the European club competition will also double.

Under the new format, a maximum of 24 clubs will be granted a direct place in the competition’s regular season for the 2017-18 campaign, with eight clubs to gain a place through qualification rounds.

The competition’s inaugural season is drawing to a close and the board is seeking ways to improve the tournament for the 2017-18 campaign. The board said a reduced number of teams will improve competitiveness and allow for a clearer competition system.

From next season, the competition’s regular season will comprise four groups of eight clubs. The first four clubs in each group will qualify for the round of 16, with the fifth- and sixth-placed clubs having the opportunity to continue to the Fiba Europe Cup.

The winner of next year’s competition will also receive €1m ($1.1m), up from €500,000 this season.

The 2017-18 season will begin on September 19 with the first round of qualification. The regular season will continue to be played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and will get underway on October 10.

The regular season will feature 14 game days and conclude on February 7, 2018. A two-week break will take place at the end of November for the Fiba World Cup qualifiers, while a one-month break will be observed in February to allow for national cups and World Cup qualifying windows.

Once the regular season is completed, one single round of 16 will be played, followed by quarter-finals and then the Final Four, which is scheduled for May 4-6, 2018.