FIBA secretary-general Andreas Zagklis claims having four separate European club competitions is stunting basketball’s growth.

The sport’s new global chief, speaking at the SportAccord conference in Gold Coast, has previously been integrally involved in the ongoing stand-off with the EuroLeague and the its European Clubs Association in his previous role as legal advisor to the governing body.

It has given him a close-up view of the acrimonious divisions between the two camps and the ultimately-unsuccessful, and expensive, gamble by FIBA to tempt the clubs back into its fold by creating the Basketball Champions League three years ago, sitting along side its own FIBA Europe Cup and the ECA’s second-tier EuroCup.

That – combined with unpopular sanctions – has, in turn, frequently led to the absence of leading players from international competition, pouring more fuel on the fire between the warring parties.

And although Zagklis fears the ring-fencing of the EuroLeague is a threat to national leagues, he has also acknowledged the status quo is unsustainable if basketball is to raise its game.

“Right now, we have four European club competitions operating,” he told reporters in Australia. “And obviously we are not reaching, neither on the commercial or on the sporting side, the potential that European basketball has.

“We have to transition from a war terminology into a collaborative terminology and I believe there is no other way forward for our sport and our clubs.

“Bringing balance that we have achieved in four other continents – in the balance between clubs, federations and leagues on the European continent – is one of our challenges although it has been on the radar for some time.

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“We are working with them and we are investing in that direction and we hope in the near future, ECA can join us in finding a strong position for national leagues in the Euro environment and we can join efforts in properly commercialising this environment.”

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