EuroLeague Basketball
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

EuroLeague CEO, Jordi Bertomeu, talked about the league’s current format, the possibility of a second EuroCup team joining the competition, FIBA and more.

Here is what the experienced executive said in a press conference in Podgorica:

On possible changes in the format and whether more teams from European leagues (like the ABA) will join the EuroLeague: “We won’t make any change in the next three-four years. If the EuroCup door to EuroLeague is wider, then there are more options for teams in this region to get in EuroLeague. The whole Adriatic League region is very special for us.

My opinion is that EuroLeague will keep 18 teams in the next five years. It’s a good number because it’s a good combination of quality and distribution in the territory. And 18 allows the clubs to compete at a domestic league level. Which is very important for the European ecosystem. We have Bayern and ASVEL because we believe they will help us grow the popularity of basketball in two big European markets.

It’s obvious that we are conducting conversations with London and Paris to see if there’s a future option to have a long-term plan in those markets. But I don’t think we will have changes in the next season.”

On more EuroCup teams advancing to the EuroLeague: “The only possible change has to do with more EuroCup teams getting the right to compete in the EuroLeague. The only change we can have to see if we can increase one more team from Eurocup to Euroleague. To give two spots.

We’ll have to work in that. The idea, the concept, the only change in the near future can be this one. Because if the Eurocup club performs well in EuroLeague we can give them an option to stay.”

On the competition expanding to the UK: “It’s not easy, it’s a challenge. It’s about work and we love challenges. It cannot be compared with the London Towers experience.

At that time, we could offer teams a five-game guarantee at home. That was the maximum we could offer at home. With no domestic league, it was impossible. Now we are offering 17 home games – 34 in total. It’s a different step, it’s a different product.”

On the relationship with FIBA: “In the summer of 2015, FIBA presented an offer with an investment bank to our clubs and they rejected it because the EuroLeague is owned by the clubs. The clubs are the owners. They are not participants, they are the owners. So if you have something that you create, that you have been growing for years, what is the meaning?

I don’t know what FIBA will do in the future. It’s a new time for FIBA. Unfortunately, we had the sad circumstances of the general secretary passing away last October. And there is now a new time. I am confident that our relationship will be better.

Clearly, we had a different vision about the basketball structure, the basketball organization, but I believe that through dialogue, sincere real dialogue, we can handle and we can manage to work together in the future.”