FIBA Europe have thrown down the gauntlet to the Euroleague by launching a new club competition for next season.

After confirming the third level Eurochallenge has been scrapped, the governing body is to set up a “new second level competition” from the 2015-16 campaign onwards – a move likely to be seen as a direct strike against the existing EuroCup, ahead of a pending attempt to take back the top-level tier.

FIBA, who claim backing from their national federations for the switch, say they expect up to 100 clubs from over 40 countries to take part with a structure that could make it viable for British Basketball League sides to participate.

“FIBA Europe will initially invest a substantial amount of financial resources into the competition,” a spokesperson said. “The main goal is to reduce the participating costs for all the clubs in this competition and to guarantee performance bonuses for teams progressing to the next stages of the competition and after every stage.”

However a board meeting in Budapest this past weekend has signalled the next stage in what will be a fight to regain control of Europe’s top clubs from Barcelona-based Euroleague with confirmation that formal proposals will soon be tabled to bring the top-tier European competition in-house from 2016 onwards.

“FIBA – who had already approved the model at its last Executive Committee meeting – and FIBA Europe are ready to launch a top club competition with outstanding growth potential,” a statement added. “It noted in particular the strong financial support secured by the working group for the sustainability of the new league in the long term and decided to invest FIBA Europe’s own resources alongside those of FIBA into the project. The Board agreed for the Working Group to present the proposal to the clubs and to other stakeholders in order to improve it and launch it as soon as possible.”

The moves come as Euroleague announced their line-up for the 2015-16 season, in addition to the 36 teams signed up for the EuroCup, while also claiming a 4% growth in TV audience last season despite a small dip in attendances.

euroleague Final 13

Bayern Munich, Strasbourg, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul have all received one-year wild cards while French champions Limoges, Stelmet Zielona Gora, winner the Polish League champion, Crvena Zvezda Belgrade and Cedevita Zagreb as Adriatic League champion and runner-up, Khimki Moscow as Russian League runner-up , Brose Baskets Bamberg as German League champion, Turkish League champion Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir and Dinamo Sassari as Italian League champion, join the existing A license teams.

“On the financial side, the board reviewed the results of the 2014-15 season, which closed with a 14.8% increase in economic distribution to the clubs, 4% more than had been budgeted at the start of the season,” a league spokesperson said.

“Likewise, the board heard financial forecasts for the 2015-16 season that indicate new growth of 20% in such distributions, adding to the consistent progress of the league in the last 15 years, which positions European professional clubs basketball in the healthiest position ever, with positive expectations of achieving the objective of 47.3% growth in economic distribution to clubs over the next three-year cycle, as approved at the last ECA Shareholders Meeting in Istanbul.

“Attendees were also reminded of changes in the distribution model that will take full effect during the new season and put greater emphasis upon the on-court success of the teams, with increased victory earnings for each victory, highlighted by a €1 million bonus for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion.”

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