Zalgiris’s Director Paulius Motiejunas is disappointed to see more Lithuanian clubs join VTB United League with a hope to get more money.
It was announced on July 20th that three LKL (Lithuanian Basketball League) teams, that finished in places from 8th to 10th in LKL last season, will take part in VTB United League.
Those teams are Nevezis Kedainiai, Lietkabelis Panevezys and Dzukija Alytus, the former is owned by Tomas Pacesas, Executive Director of VTB United League.
“It’s a pity that our clubs are bought this way. As far as I heard, they will get 150K litas [43K euros] for participation. It’s very disappointing that our clubs are unable to find sponsors in Lithuania. We, as a basketball country, should make sure that these things don’t happen.”, Motiejunas told to TV3 News.
Zalgiris left VTB League last season, it was rumoured that the new sponsor – Ukrainian bank PrivatBank – demanded the club to quit the league in exchange for financial support.
One of the main reason behind unhappiness, is a clash between LKL and VTB League schedules. The clubs are forced to play high amount of games and players are exhausted towards the end of the season.
But it’s not only the teams that play in VTB League that experience inconveniences. Last season LKL side TonyBet Prienai was prepared to give away third place to Lietuvos Rytas without a single game because they had to wait for their opponents to finish VTB League Playoffs before starting third place series.
The games eventually took place but Prienai suffered financially as they had to pay salaries for additional month because the players had to stay for longer than planned. However, it must be noted that Prienai, as well as other LKL clubs, voted for such system without ever expecting to be on the receiving end of the consequences.
Fer the second straight season LKL seeding for playoffs was decided by win percentage because some teams (Zalgiris, Rytas and Neptunas) played only two rounds in regular season instead of four.
Mainly because of such system Zalgiris (4) and Rytas (1) met each other in semi-finals with the former one coming on top and eventually taking the title.
Once the season was over the widespread opinion among LKL clubs was that all teams should play four rounds and have equal chances. An alternative three-round format was also presented.
Following the inclusion of three more LKL clubs in VTB League, it seems that the three-round format will be used next season.
Today Vilnius city municipality adopted decision to approve budget for the next year with a protocol entry that Rytas participation in VTB United League shall be considered unacceptable.
Arturas Zuokas, mayor of Vilnius, told city council that supposedly Rytas is yet to decide whether to take part in VTB League or not.
Currently Vilnius city is giving around 640K euros to Rytas.