There is growing frustration surrounding the venue for the Adriatic League final four, with mounting confusion over reaching a final decision as to where the games will be held. Over the last few days there have been confirmations, denials, misinterpretations, arguments, and a whole lot in between but it does now look as though a decision has been made, at least so it seems. Laktasi the city that hosts Adriatic League leader Igokea Aleksandrovac has unofficially reached an agreement to host the final four, with an announcement expected on Friday.
Whether that is the end of the saga remains to be seen as it seems things are changing by the hour. The problems started when the Commissioner of the Adriatic League Josip Bilic said that the final four would be held in Laktasi, only for the General Manager Roman Lisac to say otherwise. The situation was further confused when officials from Igokea Aleksandrovac, the team which plays in Laktasi Sports Hall, said it had received no documentation of an agreement to host the final four.
Igokea president Boris Spasojevic said, “We have not received anything official yet, I cannot comment on anything. All I know, is what I read in the media,” while he also admitted he was unsure whether he even wanted to host the event (which costs around € 100,000).
“Why should we host it? If we beat Krka then we will end as the number 1 of the regular season which automatically secures us a spot in the Euroleague next season, so we do not need any home court advantage. It will just bring a lot of extra costs with it.” Spasojevic said.
Commissioner Josip Bilic said that the board acted upon the President of the Adriatic League Radovan Lorbek’s recommendation to use Laktasi as the venue, which was quickly rubbished inadvertently by GM Roman Lisac when he said that Belgrade was also a possible destination. So with the confusion at a new level, Red Star Belgrade came out and said the club also knew nothing about an agreement or the possibility of one. Director of Red Star Telecom, D. Ristović told the team website that:
“It is irresponsible and foolish to determine this way where the Final Four will be held. At the same time time we have not been provided with a copy of the agreement between the Adriatic league and the Euroleague regarding Euroleague qualification for next season. Obviously the regulations are not clear, and are now starting to lose validity. The deadline for determining the venue for the Adriatic League Final Four was March 1st. Every day I’m trying to get hold of the Adriatic League executives in order to get more clearity, but in vain. But I see that some media have much more success in reaching these people who are then quoting left and right and that damages the reputation of the entire league. The venue of the Final Four should only be decided after reading and fully understanding the newly signed agreement between the Euroleague and the Adriatic league. Otherwise, the regularity of the league will be totally destroyed and then it would be best if we didn’t even play, but rather let the executives simply dictate which teams they have chosen to play in the Euroleague next year. It would be yet another confirmation that this is not a normal league of clubs but rather a private one of Mr. Lorbek (President fo the Adriatic League).”
However, despite all the head scratching it is emerging today that Laktasi will indeed be the venue, but now questions will start to be asked of the ABA, and particularly those who were involved in this sorry mess.
President Radovan Lorbek has been silent throughout, and maybe a statement from him could have cleared up the confusion, after-all Commissioner Josip Bilic said he announced Laktasi before an agreement had been reached on Lorbek’s recommendation. It is also unclear what the situation with Belgrade was; Roman Lisac confirmed the city was a possible host, but again no agreement had been sought. It seems one of Lisac, Lorbek, or Bilic is to blame and another embarrassing mess at the ABA could lead to heads rolling within the association.
Just two weeks ago the ABA sewed up an agreement with the Euroleague after problems had arisen between the different bylaws of the bodies. Eventually a method was agreed to let teams from the Adriatic League into the Euroleague based on performance, but yet it was a difficult situation where much of the blame was laid at the door of the ABA. This latest incident fuels the pressure on the body, and we can only wait with baited breath to see if Laktasi will indeed be confirmed as the final four host venue.