Jordi Bertomeu says the EuroLeague can’t finish ‘later than the end of July’

EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu said his plan is to resume the season during the summer.

However, he made it clear that, if this happens, the season should come to an end at the end of July.

In a virtual press conference with international media on Thursday, Bertomeu also referred to the possible scenarios for resuming the season, the timeline of the decision and much more.

Here are some of the key points of his discussion with international media, as transcribed by EuroLeague.net:

On scenarios for resuming the EuroLeague

“We believe that we cannot [play] later than the end of July. We are absolutely against playing games in September and October. That will impact and jeopardize the following season. We will have problems. So we already have every season problems with calendars. So postponing games to September-October, we can only increase these problems.

And that’s why we believe we have to avoid this negative impact on the 20-21 season, in many areas. Access criteria to leagues, game scheduling, teams’ preseason, players’ holidays. All these things will be disturbed with us playing games in September and October. So we discard this scenario. The last possible date to play EuroLeague games should be the end of July, in my opinion.

We want to finish in the current format. So, we want to keep the regular season, playing six remaining rounds. We want to play playoffs and Final Four. And we have a protocol ready that includes: three days for players to go back to their cities; two weeks quarantine; and at least two weeks training before the start of the competition. We also need to anticipate that perhaps we cannot keep the current format. This is a possibility. We are a European competition and we have more constraints than domestic leagues. I think this is obvious.

Therefore, as we have already advanced, we are working on an alternative plan that includes resuming the regular season in a country with a facility ready for our games, and probably to substitute the playoffs for a Final Eight that will replace as well the Final Four. But the most important condition will be to have guarantees for the health of our teams.”

Obviously, we are also working on alternative plans for our 7DAYS EuroCup. Because it’s less complex: there are only eight teams left in the playoff places, indicates that if the EuroLeague can be resumed, the same will happen with the EuroCup. Just like with the EuroLeague, we are also working on two scenarios, including one with a central venue to play the final of the competition.”

On the Final Four and those who purchased tickets already

“Today we can say something that is obvious: the Final Four will not be able to be played on the 22nd and 24th of May in Cologne. It’s uncertain that it will be able to be played later. We are In permanent contact with Cologne, with the municipality and with LANXESS Arena to look for alternative dates.

In this context, it is obvious that we are going to proceed with the reimbursement of the full amount of money of those who have bought tickets through the official channels, and they will maintain the priority to buy again the tickets in the that the event can be played with fans on another date.”

On criteria for cities and venues if there are Final Eights

“For sure we will need arenas that in this moment are prepared for playing EuroLeague games terms of infrastructure, so that’s the first restriction. And second, we also have to see which markets have been more impacted by the crisis, by the virus. So in this particular moment, that’s impossible to assess.

But as I said the most important thing is to see these conditions in terms of sanitary conditions for our players, then facilities and then trying to create an environment that can be more close to the normal environment in terms of safety for all of our teams. To make this announcement today is impossible because it’s too early, but we are working on different alternatives as I said because I mentioned that we are working on the budget, working on all these things so of course, we have ideas, but there are many, many options at this moment.

And it’s too early to say which one or start to speculate which destination we can have to play these tournaments.

We are not building this case in a bubble. We are really taking into account what’s happened in each one of the countries, so, as I said, we are following the evolution of the virus in each one of the countries. So, if the question is about the alternative plan, we have to choose a country that can host these events.

Of course, as I said, one of the main aspects to be taken into consideration is to evaluate how much the virus has impacted this particular country, but not only this, if the country, the market and the city, is able to provide the sanitary requirements that we are going to ask in order to keep all of our group of players, coaches, referees, teams and all this group of people that in this case will be moving to this market in safe conditions.

So it’s what we are doing at this moment. We are working and talking with different cities, in order to see options and availabilities of hospitals, for example, as well as we are working on budgets and things like that.”

On timeline of decision making about the current season

“As I said, we have to take the decision in May, not earlier than middle May and probably more close to the end of May. So this is the scheduling that we have in front of us.

But as happens in many things in these circumstances, those timelines can be changed and not postponed, not earlier than in the end of May for sure, because as I said we are monitoring all the countries and so we have some information from Germany that is different from what we have in Italy, so we are trying to keep ourselves up-to-date about everything that’s happening in our markets.

Let’s say, it’s very dynamic, the current situation, so to make predictions is just risky and probably it’s not worth it to do it. But we can say at the maximum have to make a decision by the end of May.”

On next season

“I am optimistic regarding the next season. So being also realistic, probably we will have to adapt ourselves to new conditions in socializing, in our relationships, in going to venues or events with massive attendance.

So probably protocols in terms of safety and sanitary conditions of these events will be different. I think this is realistic to foresee. I hope we will start the season playing games with our spectators. This is my hope.

If we cannot, then we will have to once again be flexible and for the time that this will not be possible, we will find solutions. But I hope that this situation will finish with the 2019-20 season and will not affect 2020-21.”

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