AEK, Partizan and Zielona Gora join Basketball Champions League as competition expands
MIES, Switzerland (Basketball Champions League) - Basketball Champions League (BCL) announced on Friday that it has accepted the late admission requests of AEK Athens (GRE), Partizan KK Belgrade (SRB) and Zielona Gora (POL) into the Basketball Champions League's inaugural 2016-17 season. It also confirmed a modification of the competition system by increasing the number of Regular Season teams to 40.
The BCL administration examined each case individually and, upon consultation with the Board of Directors, took the decision to accept these three top level European clubs into BCL with the aim of further strengthening the competition along the established principles of participation based on sporting merit and inclusiveness towards a pan-European competition.
BCL took into consideration a number of key sporting principles when assessing the process of including these new clubs into the BCL 2016-17 season, while maintaining the result of the recent Draw and respect of the calendar.
Based on the above, the format of the Basketball Champions League for the upcoming season will be modified in the following manner:
- Total participation: 40 teams divided into five groups of eight teams each.
- The four Regular Season groups (A-D) that were produced at the Draw of 21 July will remain intact with regards to their final composition.
- A new group (E) of eight teams will be created.
- Group E will include the new entries AEK Athens (GRE), Partizan KK (SRB), Zielona Gora (POL), and five teams from the Qualification Rounds that will now advance directly into the Regular Season: Besiktas Sompo Japan (TUR), Dinamo Sassari (ITA), MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (GER), Proximus Spirou Charleroi (BEL) and Szolnoki Olaj (HUN).
These five teams were selected after considering the overall strength of the national league; participation of teams from that league into European club competitions; presence and performance of each team in European club competitions in recent seasons.
The detailed competition schedule of Group E will be announced once the entire schedule of the Regular Season is confirmed.
The direct participation of these five teams into the Regular Season, affects the Qualification Rounds as certain games will no longer take place. The pairings produced at the Draw have not been affected and the potential final composition of the Regular Season groups remains intact.
The revised Qualification Rounds will consist of the following matches:
Qualification Round 1
- Kataja (FIN) vs Sodertalje Kings (SWE) (winner to participate in Group B).
- SL Benfica (POR) vs Varese (ITA) (winner to participate in Group C).
- FC Porto (POR) vs Juventus Utena (LTU) (winner to participate in Group D).
- Igokea (BIH) vs KK Mornar Bar (MNE) (winner to participate in Group D).
- Donar Groningen (NED) vs BC Tartu (EST) (winner to play in Qualification Round 2)
- Rilski Sportist (BUL) vs Tsmoki-Minsk (BLR) (winner to play in Qualification Round 2)
- CSM CSU Oradea (ROU) vs Prievidza (SVK) (winner to play in Qualification Round 2)
- Petrolina AEK Larnaca (CYP) vs U-BT Cluj-Napoca (ROM) (winner to play in Qualification Round 2)
Qualification Round 2
- Winner of Donar Groningen (NED) vs BC Tartu (EST) will play against Bakken Bears (DEN) and the winner will qualify for the Regular Season and participate in Group A.
- Winner of Rilski Sportist (BUL) vs Tsmoki-Minsk (BLR) will play against Ironi Nahariya (ISR) and the winner will qualify for the Regular Season and participate in Group A.
- Winner of CSM CSU Oradea (ROU) vs Prievidza (SVK) will play against Lukoil (BUL) and the winner will qualify for the Regular Season and participate in Group B.
- Winner of Petrolina AEK Larnaca (CYP) vs U-BT Cluj-Napoca (ROU) will play against Muratbey Usak (TUR) and the winner will qualify for the Regular Season and participate in Group C.
COMPETITION SYSTEM MODIFICATION
The inclusion of 40 teams in the Regular Season of the BCL has brought a modification of the Play-Offs accordingly:
- 24 teams, instead of 16, from the Regular Season will qualify for the BCL Play-Offs which will be concluded in two rounds (two additional dates added in the calendar: 7 and 21 February). These will be 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th placed teams of each Group (total of 20 teams) and the four best ranked 5th placed teams.
- The top eight teams (the five Group winners and the three best ranked 2nd place finishers) of the Regular Season groups will qualify directly to the Second Round of the BCL Play-Offs.
- The remaining 16 teams will face each other during the First Round of the BCL Play-Offs with the eight winners qualifying to the Second Round of the Play-Offs.
- The next eight placed teams following the qualification of the top 24 teams to the Play-Offs will continue into the FIBA Europe Cup.
About Basketball Champions League
The Basketball Champions League is an innovative 50-50 joint partnership between FIBA and 10 top European leagues. It is a fair competition based on sporting principles with teams qualifying through national leagues. It is a truly European club competition with 30 countries.
For further information about the Basketball Champions League, visit www.championsleague.basketball or follow us on facebook.com/basketballCL, twitter.com/basketballCL, instagram.com/basketballCL and youtube.com/basketballCL.