|09 July 2008|
There were three draws in Berlin on Tuesday but the real historical significance of the event came in the fact that it was a common draw. Both FIBA Europe and ULEB officials were on hand at the Postbahnhof and their presence signified a new era of cooperation between the two organizations.
The integration of the three competitions is the direct result of a renewed effort by FIBA Europe and ULEB to cooperate in growing the game of basketball across Europe.
Before the first of the three draws began, FIBA Europe President George Vassilakopoulos addressed the clubs and media on hand.
Ladies and Gentlemen and dear basketball friends,
I am today happy and proud to share with you a very special and a very important moment for European basketball. Indeed it is the first draw in the 21st century that covers all the European men's club competitions.
For a long, a too long period, European basketball was divided. However, today it is not the moment to talk about this division. Today, after many lengthy negotiations, FIBA Europe and ULEB have reached an agreement for the integration of their respective club competitions at European level.
The first concrete and visible result of this agreement is today's common draw, with the presence, for the first time, of representatives of both entities.
I dare hope and believe that today's event will be just a first step.
From the side of FIBA Europe, that I have the honor to represent, I can declare that we are open and ready to proceed to an even greater integration in the future.
Our goal is and has always been, to have European basketball united. To have all basketball people in Europe work together, for the sake of the progress of our sport, in order to enable basketball to reach and maintain in Europe, the leading position it deserves.
I do not think I need to say more. Thank you all for being here today and I do hope and wish that we shall have an excellent club competition season. A season that will be the beginning of a new era for European basketball.