MIES, July 7, 2017 - FIBA is disappointed that Euroleague Commercial Assets (ECA) has announced its 2017-18 Euroleague calendar which does not include the windows for national team competition in November 2017 and February 2018.
We were assured by ECA - in a letter signed on 10 November 2016 - that 'ECA rules do not prevent or limit in any way the release of players to national teams competitions.'
Consequently, today's decision clearly passes the responsibility for deciding whether or not to play for their national teams to the players themselves. This unnecessarily creates the potential for conflict between clubs on the one hand, and players and national federations on the other.
Being forced to choose whether to represent club or country places an unfair and unreasonable burden on players who should be free to achieve their best performance for both club and country.
FIBA wishes to highlight key facts that led to a situation which ECA could have easily avoided:
• The new FIBA calendar was approved unanimously by all national federations in 2014, reducing the workload of players by an average of 26% through the elimination of one Continental Cup every 4 years;
• The exact dates of the national team windows were published in August 2015, more than 2 years before their implementation;
• The FIBA calendar has been accepted by the entire FIBA family, including the European Leagues, through the Union of European Leagues of Basketball (ULEB);
• ECA decided to change the Euroleague format and increase the number of games from 31 to 37 in July 2016, by introducing "double-headers" in 5 weeks;
• FIBA puts in place the biggest insurance program in the history of basketball worldwide, in order to protect players and their salaries;
• The Luxembourg court decided that the new FIBA Calendar does not constitute a breach of the FIBA Europe-Euroleague agreement, which was anyway terminated in 2015;
• ECA discarded the idea to start Euroleague one week earlier in October 2017 and to introduce only one more double-header in the season, which would have accommodated the national team windows.
The worldwide basketball family remains united behind the new FIBA calendar involving more than 140 national teams which dream of playing the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The calendar was designed after a global consultation process and will help grow our sport through the appeal of national teams playing at home and ensuring a pipeline of young and new talent in the years to come.