EuroLeague Basketball decides to cancel 2019/2020 tournament’s remaining matches
MOSCOW. KAZINFORM The Executive Board of EuroLeague Basketball, which is the top-tier European professional basketball clubs competition, made a decision to cancel the rest of the previously suspended 2019/2020 EuroLeague season as well as the Euro Cup tournament, according to the EuroLeague’s statement on Monday.
«The EuroLeague Commercial Assets Shareholders Executive Board met remotely on Monday, May 25, for the fourth time since the season was suspended on March 12 due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic,» the statement reads, TASS reports.
Matches of the 2019/2020 EuroLeague season were postponed indefinitely in March due to the ongoing global spread of the novel coronavirus. Three Russian basketball clubs, namely reigning Champion CSKA Moscow, Khimki Moscow Region and Zenit St. Petersburg, are among the participants of the EuroLeague’s current season.
The 2019/2020 season was put on a hold on March 12 after 28 out of the 34 scheduled rounds of the tournament were played. A final decision on whether to resume the season or not was expected to be announced after the European basketball league’s top management online session on Monday.
«Following the decision taken on March 12 to temporarily suspend all EuroLeague Basketball competitions, the league, clubs, players and all stakeholders have maintained their willingness and continuous efforts to resume the competitions,» the statement continued. «Having explored every possible option, the Executive Board has made the decision to cancel the 2019-20 <...> EuroLeague and <...> EuroCup.»
According to the statement, «The health and safety of our athletes, fans, staff, partners and local communities remains our top priority.»
«Without a doubt, this is the most difficult decision we have had to take in our 20-year history,» EuroLeague Basketball President Jordi Bertomeu was quoted by the statement as saying. «Due to reasons beyond our control, we have been forced to cut short the most successful and exciting season in European basketball history.»
«Obviously, we had many motivations to resume the 2019-20 season, but in such an exceptional situation, we have to put people’s health first and ahead of any other interest: our players, our coaches, our referees, our clubs, their staff, our league staff, our broadcasters, and all of their families,» Bertomeu continued. «By doing so, we stay true to our beliefs and what we stand for.»
The statement also added that the Executive Board ruled to keep on the list of participants for the next season all clubs, which were active playing before the current season was postponed indefinitely, and this list includes three Russian basketball clubs (CSKA Moscow, Khimki Moscow Region and Zenit St. Petersburg).
«The Executive Board agreed on the following with regards to the 2020-21 season: the 2020-21 EuroLeague season will count upon the participation of the same 18 teams,» the statement reads adding that «the Euro Cup season will reserve guaranteed spots for the eight teams that qualified for the 2019-20 quarterfinals.»
«The 2020-21 EuroLeague and EuroCup seasons will start on October 1 and September 30, 2020, respectively, as previously approved,» according to the statement. «The league and clubs will continue to monitor the evolution of COVID-19, staying in close contact with governments and public health authorities to ensure optimal conditions for all participants when the season starts.»