Since beating Fenerbahce, Karsiyaka fans have been calling for a wild card. Emmet Ryan says it should be Euroleague begging them to take part
Turkey will, without question, have three teams in Euroleague next season. Anadolu Efes, Fenerbahce, and one other will be granted A licences. The third is a wild card spot and Darussafaka Dogus are expected to get it due to the club’s healthy budget and likely star power on the court. By the time next season tips, Darussafaka will have a team that can compete on the floor with nearly everyone in Euroleague but this season, there’s a Turkish club far more deserving of seeing its name in the draw for the Euroleague regular season.
Their fans share posts like this…
— KSK TVen (@KSKTVen) June 16, 2015
— KSK TVen (@KSKTVen) June 16, 2015
…begging for attention from headquarters in Barcelona.
Their fans are crying out for a wild card because they know there is not path open to them to earn a place on merit.
Their fans should stop making calls on Euroleague, instead the league ought to reach out and plea to those fans to come and play.
Pinar Karsiyaka are everything Euroleague want in a basketball club. The whole concept of #Devotion which the league pushes can hardly be beaten than what is seen in that club from the suburbs of Izmir with a passionate fanbase utterly devoted to its team.
Euroleague preaches financial fair play. Well here is a club that has Moneyballed its way to a 3-1 lead in the Turkish league finals, a competition unquestionably in the top five in Europe if not higher.
Along the way it not only knocked out a team that reached this year’s Euroleague Final Four in Madrid, Karsiyaka utterly routed that Fenerbahce side to close the series in Game 4. Now, this same club holds a 3-1 lead over an Efes side that made the playoffs in Euroleague.
This is not an article attacking Darussafaka’s case. As a wild card whose presence is not meant to be impacted by on court performance, it should be judged independently.
It is attacking a system that prevents a club in one of the elite leagues of Europe from winning its way into Europe’s premier club competition. The removal of Turkey’s B licence ended that point of access.
True, winning Eurocup offered an alternative route, clubs in nearly every other league of consequence in Europe don’t need to rely on that route to make it to the big show. If Darussafaka are getting a wild card irrespective of their post-season performance in Turkey, and it was dismal, then surely an automatic route should remain open for a side that has endured through the post-season and gone farther than anyone outside that suburb of Izmir could have imagined.
Oh yes, that’s another financial argument in Karsiyaka’s favour. Turkey is an important market for Euroleague and allowing a club from a part of the country other than Istanbul to win its way in can only be good for the competition. If there is space for Darussafaka then there certainly should also be a spot for Karsiyaka.
All of this is before we get to the most important aspect for fans of the sport. This club is committed to playing a fun and exciting brand of basketball. If Euroleague wants to maximise the value from its existing viewer-base it needs so-called league pass teams to keep fans watching when their own club is off air. In Bobby Dixon, Karsiyaka have a man who can mesmerise whenever the ball is in his hands. Kenny Gabriel, Jon Diebler, Juan Palacios, DJ Strawberry, Soner Senturk, and even Baris Hersek bring a game that thousands will want to watch online. This is a team that causes headlines like this and follows them up with comebacks like this.
Irrespective of what happens over the rest of this series, this is a team Euroleague shouldn’t offer a place to next season. No, Jordi Bertomeu should make a state visit to ‘President’ Bobby Dixon and ask Mr President to come to his party.