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Basketball Champions League Americas is launched

by Court Side, September 25, 2019 10:57am

MONTEVIDEO - The official launch of the brand-new FIBA club competition was held this Saturday in Montevideo, Uruguay, led by Honorary FIBA President Horacio Muratore, FIBA Americas Executive Director Carlos Alves, and the CEO of the European Basketball Champions League Patrick Comninos.

The Basketball Champions League Americas (BCLA) was officially presented in Montevideo to members of the press in an event attended by FIBA authorities, federations, leagues, and clubs, as well as coaches, players and special guests.

FIBA Honorary President Horacio Muratore, who was also appointed President of the BCLA Board, assured during the launch: "This new international league of clubs will be the most important in the continent and will be a platform to advance the growth of our brand in the region."

"This is not a succession of Liga de las Américas, but rather a new product of our development project that will foster a balance between representation and quality. We will begin with 12 clubs, but we are open to incorporate more in upcoming editions," Muratore added.

"The BCLA Board is a clear example of the new governance system of ONE FIBA, that incorporates the federations with the leagues and their clubs," Muratore highlighted.

Apart from the President, the Board of Directors, which reports directly to the FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis, is constituted by FIBA Americas Executive Director Carlos Alves, Uruguayan Basketball Federation President Ricardo Vairo, and Puerto Rico Basketball Federation President Yum Ramos. Representing the competition's clubs are Fabián Borro (Argentine League) and Kouros Monadjemi (Brazilian League). A third club representative is yet to be defined.

The CEO of the Basketball Champions League (Europe), Patrick Comninos, also shared his views: "The BCL was created years ago and is part of FIBA's main strategies to shape international club competitions around the world. The idea is that a club that is successful in their local league is rewarded with participating in a first-level continental competition. This is the concept behind several continental competitions FIBA is organizing, and the winners of these competitions have the chance of participating in the Intercontinental Cup.”

Comninos explained that the new BCLA follows the same logic as the Basketball Champions League in Europe and the Basketball Africa League in Africa (a joint project by FIBA and the NBA). The common philosophy shares two fundamental pillars that are part of the FIBA core values: they respect key sports principles, where clubs that have the best results in their local teams gain access; and they are inclusive, open to clubs that are successful at a national level.

Lastly, FIBA Americas Director Carlos Alves thanked attendees and gave more details on the new competition: "In the governance of the BCLA, we have arrived at a decentralized model — something that is innovative — and decisions in the league are made by three pillars: the national federations, the national leagues, and FIBA, all of which are represented on the Board."

Alves shared that some of the goals include reaching a sustainable economic model, a new competition system with home and away games, participation by sporting merit, and strengthening the national and regional leagues. "We want to reposition and elevate the competition of clubs in the Americas by elaborating a strong, relevant and sustainable ecosystem for basketball in the region. Our goal is to strengthen basketball in the Americas with a pyramid organizational structure based on our federations and their leagues," he concluded.

As for the competition's format, the first phase of the BCLA will feature four groups of three teams each, with two qualifying teams per group that move on to the Quarter-Finals, which will be a best-of-three series. The Semi-Finals and the Final will also be decided in a best-of-three format.

The competition will take place from October to March, with windows in the following dates:October 28 to November 1 (8 games), November 25 to 29 (8 games), December 16 to 20 (8 games), January 14 to 21 (Quarter-Finals), February 14 to 29 (Semi-Finals) and the Final on the week between March 9 and 14, 2020.

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