This just came in from the FIBA Europe headquarters in Munich:
After a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday FIBA Europe and ULEB have agreed to amend the existing agreement of 2004 in an effort to more closely integrate Europe’s three men’s basketball competitions.
The new system, agreed upon in principle at the Thursday meeting, will include elimination rounds leading to two 32 team competitions in addition to Euroleague.
The major points of the amended agreement include:
1. The elimination rounds will be administered by FIBA Europe and will be played under FIBA Europe eligibility rules.
2. The second and third competitions (featuring 32 teams each) will run on a parallel calendar during the season.
3. There will be promotion from the third competition to the second competition beginning in the 2009-2010 season.
4. The name of Euroleague will remain while the other two competitions will be renamed in the near future.
Further details will be made available by FIBA Europe as they are finalized.
So what does this mean?
We for sure know that this will be the last year of the ULEB cup and FIBA Eurocup. Basically it means we will have the first league, which is the Euroleague, a second league and a third league – all within Europe.
Why is this such a big deal?
Up to this point I guess you can say that FIBA and ULEB/Euroleague didn’t like each other at all. Just a few months ago FIBA started to cover the Euroleague and is implementing more and more about Europe’s best competition.
Just one question: I guess this only counts for mens basketball. The womens Euroleague is already adminstered by FIBA Europe so nothing will change there – will the women still have their FIBA Eurocup? I don’t know.
Overall it is a very good step into the right direction – we can’t have to Basketball organizations that don’t get along well and still try to compete with the NBA. I think this is a milestone for European basketball.