Jordi Bertomeu is trying to correct the Euroleague mistakes of the last seasons

The Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu made some interesting statements in Berlin before the 2nd game of the Eurocup Finals. His words proved that the Euroleague board finally understand that the process of selecting the participant teams in the competition has to be more democratic.

We all understand that Euroleague tried to be a competition for rich clubs of Europe who have financial stability for many years, not only for a season or two. But this means that many clubs didn’t have any chance to be there. Even if they were good. Let’s take a look at some concrete situations:

  1. in the season 2015-2016 Lokomotiv Kuban had a huge season, finishing 3rd at the Final 4 after beating Baskonia. Did this mean something for the next season? NO! They disappeared from Euroleague back in the Eurocup because they were “not able to place on the 2nd spot in VTB League” and to conquer this way their presence for the next Euroleague season. So, it doesn’t matter your performance this season, the next one you are out from the competition (except when you are a rich team, with A licence).
  2. In the same season 2015-2016, Euroleague powerhouse Maccabi Tel-Aviv was not able to enter TOP 16 because there were 24 teams and 8 of them fell in the Eurocup. It’s not even about Maccabi but about many other teams. What bothered many people is the Euroleague system: one season you are not able to qualify from 24 teams to 16 and the next season just because you pay you will be automatically in the Top 16! And doesn’t matter if you finish the season in your country on 10th spot, you will be anyway in the Euroleague next season (and many other better teams won’t).

So, all these years the Euroleague denied the democratic access of the teams to the competition who became a closed one, stuck on 11 rich clubs plus other 5 humble step-brother teams. There is no dynamic in the competition. Almost the same Final 4 etc.

Now it seems that the Euroleague board woke up a bit and will try to make the system a bit more democratic:

  • starting with the next season the Euroleague will have 18 teams, including also a team from France and a second team from Germany
  • it is possible as well that the Eurocup will offer 2 places for the Euroleague: not only for the winner but for the runner-up too
  • there will be possible also for the Eurocup teams with a good performance in Euroleague to stay for the next season too
  • the Euroleague will try to be more European: to include more strategic cities from the old continent (Paris, London, Rome, Berlin etc.)

I think that the Euroleague board understands finally the saying: “better late than never”. If we want a clean, wide-spread and loved basketball in Europe, they have to make it more DEMOCRATIC not just plutocratic like it was in the last 3 seasons!

Gratian Cormos,

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