We’ve already spoken several times about the the Euroleague’s new formula. Now today, Euroleague.net published a report that was somewhat misleading: After the decision to make a semi-closed league was taken in Berlin before the summer, it now seems that we’re facing new changes for the major competition of European basketball.
What happened? On the 7th of July, the Euroleague assembly took the decision to change the format of its competition. This vote was taken with 25 of 33 votes placed in favor, representing 75% of votes. Five parties suspended their votes in order to get more information, according to the official Euroleague press release. El Mundo Deportivo had brought up different results in July, stating that 34 voters (24 teams, 9 leagues and the ULEB) were present, with five parties (Unicaja, Joventut, ACB, French and Polish League) voting against and four (Le Mans, Nancy, Italian League and ULEB) abstaining.
Not only did we get two different results here, neither vote found the necessary four-fifths of votes cast in order to actualize the decision. However, the new format was announced and presented as though it had been decided upon. Rumors say that the votes were changed afterward and the abstentions counted as positive votes so as to reach the required 80%.
With the report on Euroleague.net, especially at acb.com, it looks like the work behind the scenes by some major players has had its necessary effect. If you check the results brought up by El Mundo Deportivo, you see that it was especially Spain and France that were opposed to the new format. So it’s not a big surprise to see both leagues publishing reports these days in order to promote a different system.
René le Goff, in his role as vice-president of the ULEB, brings the argument of European law to the table and states that the new Euroleague format would not be in line with EU regulations. He explains also that the ULEB is in favor of a new format with 30 teams having 22 direct qualified teams and 16 teams playing a preliminary round for the remaining 8 spots. Two French teams (the national champion and one wild card) would qualify automatically, with a third team going to the qualification round.
So if you follow this correctly, there is now a real problem between ULEB and the Euroleague about the new competition format. The interesting part is of course that the ULEB was once the driver behind a split from FIBA competitions by creating the Euroleague. Today, it is the powerful union of the European leagues putting pressure on the Euroleague they once created to change the competition system to their direction. We’ll see how this unfolds.