Basketball Champions League CEO Patrick Comninos has exclusively spoken to TrendBasket in an online interview that touches many topics regarding the shape of BCL and European basketball.
This interview with Basketball Champions League CEO Patrick Comninos has been edited and condensed for clarity.
(Begum Unal) I would love to begin with the announcements that came earlier this month and also at the end of May from the Basketball Champions League. Many important basketball clubs decided to compete in the BCL for the upcoming seasons. So, can we say that this month is the month of the Basketball Champions League?
We like to say that every month is the month of the BCL. We are a competition that does not stop. We now have the preparation for the coming season. We have a lot of discussions with all the stakeholders. Then, we have our Final Eight that starts in October to conclude the current season and crown the champion. And then, on October 13, we will start the new season. It will culminate with a Final Four on the May 9, 2021. For us, as I said, every day, every week, every month is BCL’s period.
But obviously, the last few weeks have been very important for us, for the growth of our competition. We have received the vote of confidence from some very important clubs around Europe. Some of them are coming from the Turkish League, which is one of the most competitive leagues in Europe. For us, this recent period is the validation of all our efforts, all the concrete steps we are taking to grow BCL into a top competition for all parties involved.
(BU) Do you have the location already decided for the Final Eight? Would Turkey be an option, because Turkish clubs are always confident to host these tournaments?
We know that Turk Telekom and the city of Ankara could be interested in hosting. Right now, this is quite a unique process for us because we have to consider many factors when selecting the host. It might be different from what we take into account, considering the Covid-19 situation. We are balancing all these different aspects, and we hope that in the next couple of weeks, we will be in a position to announce the destination of this event. We will have some time to go and prepare, but we are confident that this year’s end of the season and start of the season events will create a memorable experience for all participants.
(Kemal Rutkay Ozcan) Are there going to be any fans in the arena when Final Eight takes place?
When it comes not just to the Final Eight but all the games in Basketball Champions League and all the sporting events, this is not a decision controlled by the organizer; this is a decision dictated by the national governments and authorities. Obviously, we, as sports organizers, wish to have the fans’ attention to the games. A sports event without fans loses part of its appeal. But this is not something we control. We are aware that in the end, we have to respect government rules and directives, wherever we go. We are hopeful, but it is something that we need to wait and see how each respective government will react.
(KRO) I understand that you haven’t got any guarantees from any governments.
I think, in today’s world, no authority can put a guarantee about what the situation will be at the start of October. The last months have demonstrated that in this environment, it is impossible to make this sort of prediction. Everybody’s aware of the interest we all have in having games with spectators, but again, this is not just BCL’s request. The entire sports industry is waiting patiently for what each government’s requirements will be when it comes to having spectators in the arena. From our point of view, we are not in any position to ask for any guarantees because no government is in a position to offer them.