European basketball federations line up to oppose Euroleague

The European division of the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) has reopened its battle with Euroleague Basketball over the calendar model for the sport on the continent by issuing a strongly worded declaration attacking the actions of Euroleague Commercial Assets (ECA).

The declaration was signed by national federations during a Fiba Europe general assembly meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus on Saturday. The document spells out 10 key points, including condemnation of the decision of ECA to schedule top-tier EuroLeague games on the same day and time as the Fiba Basketball World Cup Qualifiers, a decision Fiba Europe states places the players in an “unfair situation and ethical dilemma”.

The declaration also “discards as unacceptable” the “proposal” of ECA dated March 1. The federations have confirmed their “readiness” to use “all available remedies” in protecting their national teams, the national championships and the integrity of their respective competitions.

The Fiba Europe document added: “(We) welcome the statements of the Ministers of Sport at the recent Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council, and urge the European governments and the competent bodies of the European Union to hold ECA accountable for its actions against national teams and the European model of sport, which have a negative impact on sport throughout Europe and in particular other team sports.”

In March, Fiba Europe unanimously rejected the latest proposal from Euroleague Basketball over the calendar model for the sport on the continent. Earlier in March, the world governing body confirmed it met with ECA and received three variations of an international calendar model, adding that the first of these was essentially a replicate of ECA’s proposal made in September of last year.

Euroleague Basketball had then issued a proposal calling for a 38-week club schedule running from October to June, with a six-week window for national team competitions in June and July. The proposal also called for a four-week period of complete rest for players in August, with preparation for the club season commencing in September.

Fiba stated that all three versions of Euroleague’s latest proposal set out to “relegate” national team activities worldwide to an annual six-week period between June and September, adding that this meant national teams would not have the regular and consistent presence and traction throughout the year that is “paramount” to the global development of basketball.

In December, Euroleague Basketball said it was working on changes to its calendar designed to resolve the ongoing impasse between it and Fiba. As the organising body of the EuroLeague and EuroCup competitions, Euroleague Basketball has been engaged in a long-running battle with Fiba over the sport’s calendar in Europe and the release of players for national team competitions operated by the world governing body.