The Euroleague are to report world governing body FIBA to European competition authorities, it has been revealed.

The move is the latest stage in the battle to win control of the rights for the continent’s official super league and the European Commission will now be asked to intervene.

Their complaints to Brussels alleges an attempt by both FIBA and several national federations to form an illegal monopoly through a restraint of trade on players, coaches and officials, asserting there has been “unacceptable and illegal threats and pressures.”

A statement added: “The complaint’s objective is to guarantee that clubs, players and referees can freely make the choice to participate in the competitions that they consider appropriate without being subject to threats or pressures.

“FIBA is violating European Union law because, in a blatant conflict of interest, FIBA has rules on its books that provide for sanctions against those who are involved in competitions not approved by FIBA. There are several precedents at the European level that demonstrate that sports federations cannot use their regulatory and sanctioning powers to gain an advantage in the market.”

The Commission has previously shown a willingness to intervene in sport where a competition case exists, most notably in underlining freedom of movement for services through the Bosman football case. While it has steered away from challenges to the ability of governing bodies to impose administrative guidelines, it will investigate cases that have “a Community dimension and significantly affect trade between Member States.”

Football body Uefa and motor racing body FIA have previously been forced to alter their governance to comply with EU regulations.

Last year, Euroleague, which has the backing of top teams including Real Madrid and Barcelona, revealed it has secured a massive investment from American marketing agency IMG.

“Euroleague Basketball will continue to develop the project announced in November of 2015 that includes the remodeling of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and the Eurocup, with the aim of offering to our fans the opportunity to enjoy an even better competition and to our clubs the possibility of generating higher revenues,” a spokesperson added. “It goes without saying, too, that Euroleague Basketball not only doesn’t object, but welcomes the FIBA’s announcement of its intention to increase its dedication to club competitions.”

FIBA plan to proceed with their own Basketball Champions League next season, rejecting further talks over extending Euroleague’s licence. But they, and their Federations, are set to end up in court with competition law determining the validity of their case.

“After refusing FIBA’s proposal to enter into a partnership in November 2015, Euroleague confirms with this legal action that it has no intention of entering into a constructive dialogue with FIBA to try to resolve the current situation surrounding club competitions in Europe,” a statement from FIBA said.

“FIBA remains focused on delivering, jointly with the domestic leagues, European competitions that benefit both the market and European basketball as a whole. The Basketball Champions League is set to launch for the 2016-17 season.”

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Print

You must be logged in to post a comment Login