Basketball Champions League will reach this autumn their 5th year of existence and it seems that is getting better and better. Nobody would dream about it a couple of years ago when FIBA started the new competition as a response to Euroleague, offering much more democratic access to dozens of teams. This season was a great one, unfortunately, stopped by the pandemic and the next one will be even stronger, with many high-quality newcomers.
The BasketballCL is so dynamic that – since the beginning of it – only a couple of clubs stayed in the competition all the editions. At the start of the last season, 9 teams played in all 4th previous editions, while this coming season we will have 5, maybe 6 of them. This is the best proof that the Champions League is an open competition, where there are some constant teams but there are plenty of new participants.
The only 4 teams that maintained since the beginning of Basketball Champions League till now are Iberostar Tenerife, AEK Athens, – both of them former champions of the first 2 editions, CEZ Nymburk and Filou Oostende. It is possible as well for Neptunas Klaipeda to pass from the qualifiers to the BCL groups, being the 5th team with a constant presence in the competition during all these years.
It remains to see how FIBA will manage this competition in the years to come, with more important European clubs joining BCL, that will make the fight to be in the groups more dramatic. This autumn 16 teams will fight for only 4 places left, while 28 seats are already occupied by some of the best squads of Europe. It is possible that in 2 years from now, BCL will have to expand, including more teams that are preferring this competition instead of Eurocup. The good news is that FIBA Europe Cup level will grow as well because many teams that won’t qualify for BCL will go directly into their groups.
Image: Basketball Champions League