CONTROL IN FIBA’S GAMEPLAN

FIBA and the Euroleague are set to renew their battle for control of the European club game amid an attempt from the world’s governing body to seize back some of their ground lost. 

Patrick Baumann, FIBA’s secretary-general, has threatened to take over the running of the continent’s Cup competitions which have been the source of an ongoing dispute in recent years as part of a renegotiation of the current license to operate the pan-European league.

The affirmation comes ahead of a meeting on Wednesday in Geneva between FIBA’s European chiefs and various national bodies and leagues with Baumann – who is also an influential member of the IOC – criticising the Euroleague for a lack of progress since the leading clubs were granted permission to breakaway and create a fully autonomous competition in 2001.

And unless a new agreement can be reached which meets FIBA’s terms, the EuroCup and Eurochallenge will be brought back under central control.

“We were at the Final Four in Madrid and we saw that the competition had grown a lot,” Baumann told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “But we also are convinced that it hasn’t reached the level to which the clubs themselves believed it could reach 15 years ago.

“Football has hugely superior numbers but the problem is that the differential can’t keep increasing.”

With plans progressing to introduce international games during the season following the Rio 2016 Olympics, there has been no warming to the idea from either the Euroleague or NBA who have stood firm in opposing the idea of accommodating the idea with breaks, similar to those in football.

Non-NBA talent will have to replace LeBron James in Team USA

Non-NBA talent will have to replace LeBron James in Team USA

But Baumann is determined to carry on regardless, risking a collision that will likely see second-string men’s sides fielded in the qualification for World Cups and EuroBaskets – despite a pledge that NBA talent will feature in the two international windows scheduled for June and September.

“Everyone has the right to their own opinion,” he added, in a Q&A with El Mundo Deportivo. “A solution that will be satisfactory for everyone doesn’t exist, it’s impossible. But once it’s fixed that the international sides are untouchable, you have to keep them vibrant and improve their importance over the next 10-20 years – it’s clear you have to find a competition format that makes it possible.

“The national teams are for everyone, they belong to no-one. We have put on the table a proposal for international breaks, something that isn’t new because it was around in the 1990s. We want it to work and that it works for everyone. But everyone has to bring something, the parties have to make an effort so that the players can play for their countries.

“And moreover, we’ve done something else: we know that the players are the greatest driving force in their clubs, we don’t want them to burn out and that they end up playing for fewer years. We’ve made a scientific calculation and with our new system, they will be utilised in a more efficient way and get more free time in the summer. For us, it’s a question of raising the standard of basketball at a global level. If we don’t shake up the calendar and take a long hard look at it, inside ten years, we’ll see other sports in a good state while ours isn’t.”

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