Euroleague V FIBA’s Champions League – A Big Contest With Big Consequences For Sport Governance?

A seminar as part of the Sport Business Centre Seminar Series

Given by: Emir Güney, PhD Candidate, & Director of The Sports Studies Research Centre, Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey

Room 417.
Main Building, Birkbeck College
Torrington Square
London WC1E 7HX

Tuesday 17th May, 2016, at 6pm.

For directions click here.

Attendance at the event is free but you need TO REGISTER ON EVENTBRITE.

Attendance is free and open to all.


In this presentation Emir Güney will explain the context of the current dispute between basketball’s world governing body FIBA, and the independent professional basketball club competition in Europe – Euroleague. The case encapsulates the challenge posed to the traditional European model of sport, which sets as a requirement for qualification to international club competition the achievement of sporting success in national competitions, by the North American model of professional sport competition organisation with its closed league model where membership is dictated by the relative economic power of  teams in the sport.The Euroleague competition model has traditionally represented a hybrid of the two systems, but is now proposing to move toward a semi-closed model with eleven major clubs guaranteed entry to the competition every season.

Euroleague Basketball describes itself as an organisation that “develops and organizes elite competitions, sporting events, corporate social responsibility programs and educational initiatives. Founded in 2000 under a breakthrough private organizational model for European professional team sports, Euroleague Basketball manages the continent’s two premier men’s basketball competitions, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and the Eurocup, as well the sport’s premier under-18 showcase, the ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT. Both the men’s and junior European champions are crowned each spring at world basketball’s signature weekend event, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four”.  The Turkish Airlines Euroleague is currently the leading professional basketball club competition in Europe.

Prior to 2000 the major European club basketball competitions were in fact organised by FIBA, the governing body of world basketball. FIBA describes itself as follows: “Founded by eight nations in 1932, we now bring together 215 National Basketball Federations from all over the world. A non-profit making organisation, our mission is to develop and promote the game of basketball, uniting the wider basketball community, which counts more than 450 million players and fans.We organise and oversee international competitions including the FIBA Basketball World Cup, the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and the Olympic Basketball Tournaments. We establish the Official Basketball Rules as well as the regulations that govern the relationships between the different members of the basketball community. FIBA is the only authority in basketball recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).”

The formation of the Euroleague by leading European clubs effectively constituted a breakaway competition organised independently of the structures of FIBA. This breakaway has remained a source of contention between FIBA and Euroleague in the intervening 16 years. In late 2015 FIBA announced it planned to launch a rival club competition to Euroleague called the Basketball Champions League. Intense public argument has followed. Notably Euroleague have filed a complaint to the European Commission regarding the sanctions that FIBA has threatened those clubs that continue to participate in non-FIFA-sanctioned competitions. FIBA has filed a counter-claim with the European Commission which argues that Euroleague “wishes to reap the benefits of the basketball ecosystem developed by national federations … without contributing to the foundations of the sport’s pyramid and holding the national teams hostage to serve the interests of six commercially powerful clubs”.‎

The outcome of this dispute could have profound consequences for the organisation of European sport competitions far beyond basketball. Emir will explain what some of these consequences might be and their implications for European sport competition organisation and governance.


  • Emir Güney is the director of the Sports Studies Research Centre at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey. He is also a PhD candidate on Sports Management at Marmara University. His main areas of study are the governance of sport institutions and the structure of football supporters’ organizations. The Sports Studies Research Centre has three main areas of study: Sports Law, Sports Management and Sports Media.


Contact details

For further details on this seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil

Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020-7631 6763

Twitter: @Birkbecksport

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