Fiba launches new 12-team Basketball Champions League Americas

Image: Fiba

The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) has officially launched its new Basketball Champions League Americas club competition, which will debut next month.

The new tournament, which will initially feature 12 teams, will operate under a similar model to the European Basketball Champions League and the Basketball Africa League, a joint project by Fiba and the NBA.

The first phase of the BCLA will feature four groups of three teams, with two qualifying teams per group to progress to the quarter-finals, which will be a best-of-three series. The semi-finals and final will also be decided via a best-of-three format.

The inaugural competition will take place from October to March. The first batch of eight games will take place from October 28 to November 1, with the second and third batches to be held from November 25-29 and December 16-20, respectively.

The quarter-finals are scheduled for January 14-21, while the semi-finals will take place from February 14-29. The final will be held between March 9-14.

Fiba secretary general Andreas Zagklis stressed last month that the new competition would not replace the existing Liga de las Americas, but instead seek to elevate club basketball to a higher professional standard in the region.

Fiba honorary president Horacio Muratore, who will serve as president of the BCLA Board, said: “This new international league of clubs will be the most important in the continent and will be a platform to advance the growth of our brand in the region.”

Echoing Zagklis’ previous comments, Muratore (pictured) added: “This is not a succession of Liga de las Américas, but rather a new product of our development project that will foster a balance between representation and quality. We will begin with 12 clubs, but we are open to incorporate more in upcoming editions.”

The BCLA’s board of directors, which will report directly to Zagklis, will be constituted by Fiba Americas executive director Carlos Alves, Uruguayan Basketball Federation president Ricardo Vairo, and Puerto Rico Basketball Federation president Yum Ramos. Fabián Borro of the Argentine league and Kouros Monadjemi of the Brazilian league will represent clubs, with a third representative to be confirmed.

Patrick Comninos, chief executive of the European BCL, said: “The BCL was created years ago and is part of Fiba’s main strategies to shape international club competitions around the world.

“The idea is that a club that is successful in their local league is rewarded with participating in a first-level continental competition. This is the concept behind several continental competitions Fiba is organising, and the winners of these competitions have the chance of participating in the Intercontinental Cup.”