“European basketball isn’t just 11 teams” Champions League CEO Patrick Komninos Interview

Basketball Champions League CEO Patrick Komninos sat down with Yakov Meir of Israel Hayom newspaper for an exclusive interview just ahead of Sunday’s final between AEK Athens and San Pablo Burgos. Komninos spoke about a number of issues, some of which are translated below in English. The full Hebrew interview can be found by clicking the following link.

What will be the economic impact of the Corona crisis be on the Champions League?
“The answer must be divided into two parts: One as an organization and two for the teams. For us as an organization, we took into account that we will complete the season, so financially it doesn’t have too much of an affect. Of course, we will have to adapt for the upcoming season as rot how teams will play away from home and what will be the costs but we have analyzed the situation and fortunately there will be no financial impact.”

Why did you change the league format for the upcoming season and pushed off the start of the season?
“The most important thing for us will be to finish the season on time. We don’t want to begin a season that will have to stop in December. We want to be sure that the season will end as planned. That’s what is most important. All of our decisions will stem from this.”

Were the rumors true last summer that Panathinaikos considered changing leagues?
“There have been discussions with a lot of clubs. Panathinaikos is a club that has been part of the FIBA family for many years. The Giannakopoulos family may have left FIBA, but they consider themselves part of the European basketball family and we all have a common goal. It should be understood that this is not a Champions League or Euroleague problem but it’s a problem for the sport of basketball. The value of European basketball at the moment does not match the popularity of the sport on the continent and we all have to make sure that this changes.”

Jordi Bertomeu, the President, Chairman and CEO of EuroLeague Basketball said that FIBA is paying off clubs to join. What are your thoughts on this?
“I believe that every team that participates in a European tournament examines the conditions and the financial benefits attract each team. Euroleague teams receive money, so do teams in EuroCup and in the Champions League. I see no problem with that. We want teams to be financially stable and do not want to see cases like that of Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion which will not play in the EuroCup for economic reasons. We want teams that enjoy playing in the Champions League and that they will develop financially, enjoy the experience and create a tradition. That’s our job – to help our clubs grow.”

What is your vision?
“The Champions League has already shown to be a good model for the growth of European basketball. It is a model that leagues and teams have seen and are trying to adopt. Our competition is based on success and our mission is to continue like this and develop European basketball. Eventually teams will understand that the Champions League is the best place for them.”

Finally, is there a chance to cooperate with the Euroleague? You agree that there is no room for four competitions in European basketball as well as the clashes between national team games and the Euroleague aren’t good for anyone.
“This is a very good question. We have no issues because our goal is to develop basketball. We want to give respect to the national teams, the leagues, the clubs and the fans. It needs to be understood that European basketball isn’t just 11 teams, but hundreds of teams and dozens of domestic leagues. Our goal is to help everyone develop and not just 11 teams. In this matter, FIBA ​​feels it as a responsibility, while the 11 teams in the Euroleague have a different vision. We respect that, but think it is impossible to continue like this with the mess between the national teams and the leagues. For example, think about the Israeli players who will have a very difficult time developing when some of the teams have these issues with the national teams and the leagues.”

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