EUROLEAGUE PASS ON FRIDAY FAST

The Euroleague has turned down the latest approach from FIBA to open up the international windows.

The world governing body had suggested switching World Cup qualifiers to Fridays in November and February – while asking Europe’s top clubs to remove one round of fixtures in each period so that their leading players would automatically be free to turn out for their national teams.

But, in the latest unsurprising twist in a saga that has rumbled on since 2012 but still shows no signs of finding a resolution, Euroleague has declined to move its dates citing the implications for player welfare and injury risks.

And it has, indirectly, hit out at the disparity in FIBA’s lack of hostility to the NBA’s refusal to buy into the new system of in-season windows while battling with Europe’s giants in a wide-ranging dispute that might yet only be resolved by the European Commission.

“It does not solve the most central problem, as not all players will be available for official national team games (for example those from major North American competitions),” it said, in a statement.

“Therefore (it is) damaging the product, failing to meet fan expectations, placing some national teams at a competitive disadvantage, while discriminating among players of the same nationality.”

It added: “EuroLeague clubs consider unfortunate that FIBA’s first ever proposal arrived five years after Euroleague Basketball’s original attempt to find an agreement.

“However, they continue their ongoing commitment to maintain an open dialogue with a view to reaching a broad and long-term agreement with FIBA that regulates the relationship and responsibilities between the international federation, EuroLeague and EuroCup clubs.

“Such agreement should include the definition of a national team calendar amongst several other important topics, setting the basis for a true collaboration that takes European basketball and all of its professional offerings to much greater heights in a coordinated effort.”

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