Recently FIBA Europe decided to change the format of the Basketball Champions League qualifiers because they realized that is easier for the teams to participate in Final4 tournaments. Because of the Coronavirus, the travel of the teams from some countries to other ones became almost impossible and the solution found is a practical one, without a doubt. The 16 participants will be organized in 4 tournaments, each having a winner of the precious ticket for the BasketballCL group stage:
Balkan Botevgrad vs. Tsmoki Minsk
London Lions vs. Neptunas Klaipeda
Igokea vs. U-Banca Transilvania Cluj-Napoca
Sporting CP vs. Fribourg Olympic
Iraklis vs. Keravnos
Dnipro vs. Donar Groningen
Hapoel Tel Aviv vs. Bakken Bears
Belfius Mons-Hainaut vs. Anwil Wloclawek
But what will be after that? Because this is only a temporary solution for the month of September and I find it better than the option of the initial home and away format. But let me be clear: Coronavirus won’t disappear suddenly at the beginning of October in order to respect the basketball calendar. It’s silly to think that and what I am expecting is cooperation at the highest European Union levels that can bring in long-term solutions for pandemic times. How exactly to do it, not to postpone the games forever, not to wait for the miracles to come.
Actually, FIBA and the national basketball federations can do nothing to solve the problem without international agreements to allow teams to travel and play everywhere in Europe. The EU government in Bruxelles and the local authorities have to cooperate quickly in order to offer a coherent strategy to be followed. The politicians have to understand that sports are very important and like the other industries have the right to exist. It’s not suitable to quit them for years, while all the other sectors of the economy are back to normal.
Image: Basketball Champions League