While the NBA moves toward completing its 2019-20 season, the top international professional basketball league will not resume play due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The EuroLeague announced Monday that its season, along with the second-tier EuroCup season, has officially been canceled. There will be no EuroLeague or EuroCup champions crowned for the 2019-20 season. The decision came after the EuroLeague shareholders met Monday morning, their fourth such meeting since the season was first suspended on March 12.
EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu said coming to this conclusion was “the most difficult decision” the league has made in its 20-year history.
“Due to reasons beyond our control, we have been forced to cut short the most successful and exciting season in European basketball history,” Bertomeu said. “This comes after two and a half months in which all the league's stakeholders maintained their determination and exhausted every possible avenue in trying to deliver a complete and uniquely special season to our fans, whose passion is the driving force for all our efforts. That is our commitment and our passion every single season, and so falling short due to forces beyond anyone's control is what saddens us most.”
In a press release, the EuroLeague — widely regarded as the second-best pro basketball league in the world — said the decision was reached with the health and safety of players, coaches, fans and local communities in mind. The league, which has 18 clubs located across 10 countries, also cited the “varied evolution” of COVID-19 in “different EuroLeague and EuroCup territories.”
“Local authorities [are] imposing differing restrictions on the movements of their citizens, with no guarantees that all teams can travel to and from the designated location,” the league said.
The league was also concerned about the injury risk a shortened training camp would have for players.
Moving forward, the 2020-21 EuroLeague and EuroCup seasons will start on Oct. 1 and Sept. 30, respectively, the league said.
"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. By doing so, we stay true to our beliefs and what we stand for,” Bertomeau said.
"In the coming months we only have one mission: to do everything in our power to help our communities come back stronger, and to build the best version of ourselves – on and off the court – for when we can be reunited with the fans. This is not an end, but rather a new beginning.”
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