London is set to stage the Euroleague Final Four in 2013 as the continent’s premier competition casts its eyes towards the UK for future growth.

A capacity crowd of 16,500 is expected on Friday night at the Palau San Jordi in Barcelona, the site of this season’s climax of the competition, with a similar crowd likely to be present for Sunday’s finale, watched by a world-wide audience in over 100 countries.

With the British Basketball League intent on creating a new London-based franchise in the Olympic handball arena next year, and with the NBA pledging to bring more games to the city, Euroleague president Jordi Bertomeu sees opportunities of his own.

And, speaking to MVP in Barcelona, he revealed that has held talks with The 02 Arena to bring his end-of-season showpiece to Britain for the first time.

“We definitely want to bring the event there. Even more, we want to do it as soon as possible,” he said. “We have done the same in Berlin and Paris. We do not have teams in those cities but we believe it is important that we are visible in major markets and London is certainly one of them.”

Several years have passed since London Towers had a short-lived stint in the Euroleague, their little-lamented exit following a campaign in which they went 0-14. No British team has since ventured back.

Don’t expect an invite any time soon, warns Bertomeu, despite his league’s expansion this season into a record 18 countries. London may be top of his wish list but it will only be welcomed when there is the infrastructure, fan base – and the financial backing – to support it.

“It’s true that we tried some years ago,” he said. “It wasn’t successful. It’s difficult at this moment to see a project in the UK that has the vision to be part of the elite of European basketball.

"It’s difficult. From the other side, we don’t believe that artificial projects work. So I am much more in favour of the natural process of the team.

“You see Siena here. They are now in the elite but they were in the Saporta Cup many years ago. They got experience in minor competitions. Now there are in the elite. That’s the natural route. Which is why I cannot see a UK team in the short term, no matter how much I’d love it.” 

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