If there is one thing that most annoys owners of teams in major, well established sports leagues or organizations it is financial competition. A problem is emerging in Europe in basketball which involves European players who are part of the feeder system into the National Basketball Association and it could become a major issue by the end of the week.
The governing body of basketball, FIBA or the International Basketball Federation has tossed eight countries out of EuroBasket 2017 because those countries allow players or teams to be part of Euroleague which is not part of FIBA. Apparently FIBA is really bothered by this league because the owners of the group, Euroleague Commercial Assets, have no affiliation with FIBA and when you are a monopoly like FIBA, you want total control of the business. The backers of the Euroleague are outside the loop and now are thought of as an outlaw league. FIBA has told the basketball federations in eight countries, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia and Spain have until April 20 to prove they have no teams or players in the Euroleague or face sanctions which include losing a spot in Eurobasket 2017. Of course there are citizens of those countries who think they can play anywhere. The Euroleague has been around since 2000 when major club owners throughout Europe decided to leave FIBA and form the league. FIBA has fought back and formed a Champions League on the continent and wants its fiefdom back. Things have gotten so bad that both sides have complained to the European Union and European Commission about business tactics, FIBA thinks the Euroleague owners need to pay them for developing talent including coaches and players while the Eurloleague claims FIBA is violating European laws by creating the Champions League. Spain could be banned from this year’s Olympics because big boys are bickering over money.
Republished with permission Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.