With the French playoffs finished and the German finals coming to an end, the last Euroleague teams will be known in the next few days. However, with still no official decision on the competition system for the next campaign, all this still cannot be considered definitive.
With the French title going to ASVEL Villeurbanne for the 17th time, the three French teams that will compete next year in the Euroleague have been officially named: ASVEL Villeurbanne will get the regular season spot as French champion, while Le Mans and EO45 Orléans will both earn a spot in the qualification round. However, SLUC Nancy will not accept this decision and will do everything to get the national club ranking back as a qualification criteria. The president of the team told the French Basketnews:
We feel robbed of what we have built over the last three years (i.e. the position in the French domestic European qualification ranking system). We may bring this whole story to the court and initiate a process against the Euroleague joining the ACB and several Italian and Greek clubs. We will use all the possibilities that are at our disposal.
The president of the team Christian Fra is known as a very emotional person that will do everything in favor of his team, even if he risks causing some damage to French basketball in general. We will continue watching how this story unfolds.
In Germany, the Euroleague team will certainly be a Euroleague rookie, as the finals are a contest between Telekom Baskets Bonn and EWE Baskets Oldenburg. While the former currently leads the best-of-five series 2-1 despite some killer crossovers by Je’Kel Foster, Oldenburg needs to investigate what opportunities they have in a case for Euroleague qualification. The EWE Arena does not fulfill the Euroleague requirements of the 5000 seats, and a move to the AWD Dome in Bremen, located about 50 kilometers from Oldenburg will certainly NOT be seen as the solution even if the team already played some Bundesliga games there.
(UPDATE: Oldenburg would move to local Weser-Ems Halle instead and set it up as Basketball Arena for the Euroleague games.)
For Bonn, a national championship in the team’s first full season in the brand new Telekom Dome would be a massive success even if the team’s president cares more about paying back the debt the club has made to finance the arena, probably the only team-owned stadium in Europe. A year in the Euroleague would certainly help head coach Michael Koch’s team to pay back the multi-million Euro credit faster through five additional soldout games at home.
The Euroleague has sent out a press release about the future of European club competitions that has not been commented that much throughout the Internet. However, there was one point that I was surprised did not really attract any further reaction:
(…) changes that include reducing the number of European basketball club competitions by 2012 (…)
In my view, this means that the FIBA EuroChallenge will probably disappear by 2012; it’s a move that can be understood for popularity and economic reasons, as this competition did not really touch masses of spectators and the travel costs for most teams were probably higher than the financial return and sportive interest.