Here is the second part of our interview with Jordi Bertomeu.
How does this agreement between Euroleague basketball and AEG impact the choice of Final Four locations?
The agreement with AEG is for three years. What is sure that is that the Final Four 2009 is in Berlin. We will be in London either in 2010 or in 2011. So there is still one year missing. We won’t be in Germany two years; that would be too much. And we don’t want to exclude non-AEG arenas as well. If we go two out of three years, that’s OK for us. We are in talks with Rome for the organization of a Final Four. If they are ready in time, we will go to Rome, but the question remains if they are ready.
Talking about the Final Four formula, the question about the format itself has been raised. Is a Final Four tournament or a best-of-five series the better format?
The best-of-five series was a mistake. It was probably the best basketball ever to be played in European basketball, but it was a disaster on the media front. There were only three broadcasters, for example, that covered the whole series. We will stick with the Final Four format for sure. This gives us the possibility to organize an event. We can meet everybody here and the media from all around Europe can be present to cover it. So I can say that I am happy to recognize my first mistake by having organized the final phase in the best-of-five series. The Final Four will be the format in the future for sure.
FIBA announced some rule changes. Does the Euroleague have a position on this?
We agree with these new rules nearly 100%. The only exception is the alternative position which I consider the worst rule. I am convinced that the other rules will change the game in a positive way. They protect the talented players with which we are satisfied. But why wait until 2010 to implement them? FIBA tells us that it’s difficult to find an agreement with all the different federations. On the other hand, the Euroleague cannot go their own way because then teams have to change the lines on the court every week because of different rules in Euroleague and their local leagues. So we try to find an agreement with the leagues to make these changes already for the next season. In the first discussions, most of them seemed interested.
What is your opinion about the World Club championship that has been announced by FIBA? Can you give us more details about this competition?
I don’t know more than you about it. Nobody from FIBA has explained the concept to us so far. We just know about it through the newspaper. First of all, the dates are impossible to realize it. The national leagues start on these dates. Also, it’s very unclear who will play, who will be the TV rights holder and so on. It is just an additional competition like the pre-Olympic tournament. The goal of it is to sell TV rights by using players that belong to ULEB teams.
It is very difficult to find good dates so for the moment we are in the darkness about this competition. We are not against such a tournaments but not on the proposed dates. The calendar is how it is.