French league sides have reportedly approved a notion to return to the EuroCup, which is run by EuroLeague Basketball.
Last year, The French Basketball Federation were one of the most vocal supporters of FIBA’s new flagship Basketball Champions League and as a result, French clubs were not allowed to compete in EuroCup this season. Even to the point where they were threatened with bans from representing the French national team.
“The clubs decided to take again their fate in their hands,” Strasbourg president Martial Bellon said to French media outlet L’Equipe. “We have asked from FIBA and EuroLeague to continue their talks. However we have also decided that two French club will play in the EuroCup.
Playing in the EuroCup, EuroLeague Basketball’s second tier competition is the pathway that leads to the EuroLeague, when the team wins the EuroCup.
However according to Strasbourg president Bellon, even a spot for French clubs directly to the EuroLeague can be a possibility in the near future:
“For now this can’t be done, but it’s possible if the EuroLeague expands to a 18-clubs format,” Bellon added.
Nations that exclusively chose to compete in FIBA’s Basketball Champions League are very slowly heading back to the independently-run EuroLeague/EuroCup competition. Italy’s basketball federation have already agreed to return to the EuroCup next season with France looking likely to join them.
Greece and Turkey still choose to compete in the Basketball Champions League with exceptions made for EuroLeague’s licensed clubs, Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, Fenerbahce, Anadolu Efes, Darussafaka Dogus and last season’s EuroCup winners Galatasaray.