In response to a “last straw,” i.e. the Russian Basketball Federation reformatting its season-ending tournament, 10 clubs in the country have announced their withdrawal from the competition and plans to make up a new Russian league.
The list includes essentially all the top names in Russian professional basketball and clubs who play Euroleague, EuroCup and EuroChallenge ball: CSKA Moscow, UNICS Kazan, Khimki Moscow region, Dynamo Moscow, Lokomotiv Kuban, Triump, Spartak St. Petersburg, Yenisei, Nizhny Novgorod, and Krasnye Krylya Samara.
No less a figure than CSKA Moscow president Andrei Vatutin read a brief public statement on behalf of the 10 dissident teams: “In this situation, we consider it impossible to take part in the [Russian Superleague] competition, having lost our confidence … We are convinced that only independent status of the tournament ensures a high level of competition, fair play and improves the quality of Russian basketball.”
(Original Russian here reads: “В сложившейся ситуации мы считаем невозможным принимать участие в соревновании, проводимом и управляемом руководителями, утратившими наше доверие… Мы убеждены, что только независимый статус турнира под управлением учрежденных клубами органов гарантирует высокий уровень соревнований, честную борьбу и способствует повышению уровня российского баскетбола.”)
While Vatutin later commented he was pleased with the results from the 10 clubs – they took approximately 15 minutes to affirm the final decision in a meeting on Tuesday – but Ettore Messina blogged that the alliance shows little real unity and is merely a “union against a common enemy.”
In other Russian basketball news, offseason transactions continue nevertheless, especially at BC Khimki; the Euroleague contender has already confirmed the additions of Zoran Planinic and Sergey Monya to the team and is angling to sign Romain Sato, Alexey Shved, Alex Zhukanenko and Kresimir Loncar.