FIBA and EuroLeague exchange new proposals, except it isn’t happening until 2021

EuroLeague Basketball executives met with FIBA in Geneva to discuss new proposals in order to “boost” its international cycle with ideas of altering the current model, which included a 26-page document highlighting such issues.

But, FIBA seemed to hold its ground once again, with a press release later on stating that it’s always ready to study and take into consideration proposals that respect national teams and domestic leagues for the cycle after 2021.

The keyword being “after 2021”. That said: the cycle is here to stay, whether people like it or not.

But it isn’t all bad, as the two international windows all over the world have seen excellent matches, played at competitive levels in-front of near sell-out crowds. Plus, the fans are seeing countless new heroes shining through when they would have normally been hiding in the dark.

The EuroLeague though remains the top competition in Europe, domestically and while some players represented their country in both windows, their absence for the majority is noted. Therefore, EuroLeague Basketball presented FIBA with new proposals.

The agreement proposal included several points with the goal of discussing these with FIBA prior to reach an agreement that addresses them.

1. Competitions:Three international club competitions:

a. EuroLeague (EL)

b. EuroCup (EC)

c. Basketball Champions League (BCL)

As FIBA and the Domestic Leagues in October 2015 agreed that top leagues should have a maximum of 16 teams, Euroleague Basketball included this within the proposal.

2. Access:

Pyramidal System:

a. Domestic Leagues (DL) to have direct access to the EC and BCL in this order via sports ranking, after DL Playoffs

b. BCL to have direct access to the EC via sports ranking

c. EC to have direct access to the EL via sports ranking

3. International Calendar:

Three calendar alternatives with detailed calendar simulations for the upcoming four-year cycle. All three alternatives apply the following principles:

a. FIBA to have its National Team Competitions taking place on dates that do not compete head to head with any other major sports event, with the world’s best players available to play, maximising the return for rights holders, sponsors and licensees

b. National Federations to organise their National Team qualification games on dates that do not compete head to head with any other major sports event, with all their best players available to play, maximising the return for rights holders, sponsors and licensees

c. Leagues worldwide to guarantee regularity in their competitions as they will not have the most talented players being released to their National Teams in-season, therefore the integrity of the competitions will be upheld, maximising the return for rights holders, sponsors and licensees

d. Clubs worldwide to work with their players on a regular basis, reducing the injury risk that comes from intracontinental travel and changes in training / playing style mid-season, maximising the return for rights holders, sponsors and licensees, holding a shortened pre-season preparation period but with the complete roster available

In addition, all alternatives ensured five or six weeks of complete rest every season for all players competing in European clubs.

4. Conditions for the release of players for national teams:

As it happens in other team sports EB proposed that:

a. Players to be exclusively released for official games and without any increase in the number of games currently existing in the FIBA Calendar. As is currently the case this includes friendly games in the lead up to national team tournaments

b. Insurance under conditions to be agreed guaranteeing 100% salary for each player in case of temporary or permanent inability

c. Agreed maximum of practice days including conditions for practices; safety of players

d. Club medical staff to have access to players during practices

5. Youth to senior pathways:

a. All domestic leagues / national federations to include a minimum quota of U22 players enrolled in higher education per club for all leagues below the domestic championship

b. Establish compensation scales for clubs that develop youth players based on:

i. Age
ii. Seasons in the club
iii. Competition level

c. The contractual clause will prevail in the case that this is higher among the two

6. Financial Fair Play Regulations:

a. All domestic leagues / national federations must implement a homologated Financial Fair Play system for the domestic championship

7. Economy:

a. A compensation system must be established for clubs that release players to National Teams as is already the case in football, handball, ice hockey; based on the principles of:

i. Solidarity
ii. Transparency
iii. Proportionality

Euroleague Basketball remains fully available to further discuss the proposal with FIBA after their internal evaluation, since in its view there are matters that need to be urgently resolved, as flagged by Euroleague Basketball to FIBA on numerous occasions in the past seasons.

EuroLeague Basketball, who were made aware of FIBA’s international cycle in 2015, when this was first revealed during Eurobasket of that year in Lille, France, had opportunities to address the problems that they had, and have reported to FIBA directly. However, nothing has worked.

And while EuroLeague’s top dogs came prepared and arrived in Switzerland brimmed with the hope that things might go their way, the meeting itself lasted exactly 50 minutes due to what they said was “unwillingness of the FIBA executives to discuss the agreement proposal in any depth.”

Hopefully, the proposals will be reviewed by FIBA but after this meeting in Geneva, one thing is for sure: FIBA are taking the lead.