Fiba presses ahead with Champions League proposal for European basketball

The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) has said it will proceed with plans to launch a Champions League competition for the 2016-17 season in the latest development in the battle over the future of club basketball in Europe.

Fiba hosted a meeting of seven leading European national federations in Rome yesterday (Thursday) to discuss the current remodelling of the European club competitions. Under the leadership of Fiba president Horacio Muratore, Fiba vice-president and Fiba Europe president Turgay Demirel and Fiba secretary general Patrick Baumann, the global governing body said the national associations of France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain and Turkey “took note” of the new European competitions announced recently by Euroleague Basketball.

Fiba said in a statement: “The participants unanimously decided to continue the ongoing work on the Basketball Champions League project, making the necessary modifications to take into consideration the desired sporting principles and openness of a top level club competition system in order to launch the competition as planned for the 2016-17 season.

“The presidents of the attending national federations and Fiba are committed to grow the sport of basketball in Europe and will now reach out to all clubs and leagues that are interested in participating in the remodelled competition system, with the objective of having the format and all conditions finalised in a united way early 2016.”

Thursday’s announcement comes after Fiba tabled a proposal to create a new Champions League competition to Europe’s top clubs earlier this month. Fiba offered the clubs a “transition plan from Euroleague to (the) Basketball Champions League,” suggesting that the new tournament would replace the established competition.

Fiba said that the new competition would be jointly owned, managed and governed in a 50-50 arrangement by the top European clubs and Fiba, including the governing body’s investors. According to the proposal, competing clubs would receive guaranteed annual payments of €30m ($33.2m).

Euroleague Basketball responded to this development by signing a 10-season deal with the IMG Events & Media agency to establish a new joint-venture to operate relaunched European club competitions from the start of the 2016-17 season.

The deal includes an option for an additional 10 seasons to extend the relationship through to the 2035-36 season and includes a remodelling of Europe’s top basketball tournament structures. The Euroleague and IMG will manage the commercial operation and all global rights covering both media and marketing.