|18 May 2003|
New system of national team competitions ratified - No agreement with ULEB
The FIBA Europe General Assembly met on 17th and 18th May 2003 in Seville, Spain in its first session since FIBA Europe became an autonomous FIBA Zone Commission in May 2002.
The Assembly confirmed its willingness and desire for all national federations in Europe to work together to continue to promote and develop basketball in Europe.
1. National Team Competitions
The Assembly ratified the decision taken by the European Board in March 2003 to harmonise the national team calendar and introduce a new system of competition for senior men, senior women and all youth categories as of 2004.
The main principles of the new system are:
- There will be a European Championship Final Round for each youth category every year
- Teams will be ranked into 2 levels (Groups A and B) based initially on past performance and participation in FIBA competitions since 1993
- There will be no qualification tournaments
- A promotion and relegation system will be instituted between Groups A and B
Senior Men and Women
- Teams will be ranked into 2 levels (Groups A and B) based initially on past performance and participation in FIBA Europe competitions since 1993
- A promotion and relegation system will be instituted between Groups A and B, with play-off games determining which teams are promoted/relegated
- Qualification games will be played in one block, allowing for an uninterrupted club competition season
2. FIBA Europe and ULEB
FIBA Europe President Mr. George Vassilakopoulos informed the General Assembly of the continued negotiations over the past months with ULEB in order to attempt to unite European basketball.
All issues on the Euroleague were solved. For this competition, a draft agreement dated 30th April 2003 which was submitted by ULEB to FIBA Europe was duly signed by FIBA Europe and returned to them on 6th May 2003 for counter signature. As of today, this draft agreement has not been signed and returned by ULEB.
Unfortunately ULEB insists on playing the key role in the decision making process for the second European competition and to keep control of relations with those clubs. FIBA Europe repeatedly declared that this was unacceptable within FIBA Europe's relationship with its member federations.
FIBA Europe recognises the right of professional clubs to take part in the decisions that affect them in all competitions in which they participate and is ready to implement this philosophy. This position was clearly communicated by FIBA Europe to ULEB representatives, but was continuously rejected.
"We declare again that we will follow the mandate of the General Assembly," said FIBA Europe President Mr. George Vassilakopoulos. "Together within the Sports Movement and in co-operation with FIBA, we will try to restore unity in European basketball. This will certainly not be easy. We invite all national federations and clubs to help and contribute in this effort. In order to achieve unity, everyone has a role to play. Signing an agreement with ULEB at any cost will not resolve, but on the contrary it will create problems. Such an agreement would make FIBA Europe and the national federations simple followers and executors of the decisions of another body, something that I personally cannot accept. I say yes to a fair agreement, yes to unity, no to submission."
FIBA Europe Club Competitions
As a result of the failure to reach an agreement with ULEB, an extraordinary meeting of the Competitions Commission was convened directly following the conclusion of the General Assembly. The Commission confirmed that FIBA Europe will continue in its role to organise official European club competitions at all levels.
More specifically, it was decided that a Pan-European competition will be organised for the 2003-2004 season. The number of clubs that will take part in this competition will be announced in due course, and the participating clubs given decision-making power in the structure and organisation of the competition. More details will follow as soon as they are finalised.