German Beko BBL CEO Jan Pommer blasted the recent FIBA international basketball reform, insisting the league and other European will provide strong resistance and saying that he could imagine the BBL clubs going against the contractual agreement with the national federation and not make available their players to national team competitions.
“Like most of the European league representatives, also the Euroleague representatives, stunned about this decision,” said Pommer at the German All-Star Day festivities in Nuremberg.
“It’s being sold to our leagues that we are opening windows. You really get the picture of someone in a summer dress opening a window. In reality, it’s them breaking down the front door.”
Pommer said the BBL and Europe’s other leagues organize their seasons at their own financial risk, pay the players and even make them available free of charge to the federations, which can then generate their own money.
About FIBA’s idea of adding three or four windows of national team games – in November, February and June – Pommer said: “Putting in three or four windows is totally impossible, and we will energetically work against it.”
Pommer admitted he was appalled that FIBA provided the leagues no information at all about how the plan would be implemented and what kind of financial benefits – and ramifications – it could have.
“I asked if there were exploratory calculations about how much money can be earned, what the TV situation could look like, what kind of presence would it create, how many spectators would come. There must be projections. But nothing was presented to us, also no projections as to what it would mean to us,” said Pommer.
“We were told: ‘We want to learn from football. They do it very successfully. And if there’s no problem there – they have a more important sport anyhow – at the end of the day then it won’t go wrong for us.’ This argumentation was well below the belt. I really have to say that.”
About his asking how any possible surpluses would be divided up, Pommer said: “I was told, more or less on the way out, well, we want to keep them for the national federations.”
FIBA has already been notified that they can expect strong resistance from Europe’s top leagues.
“We also told FIBA that under these conditions we cannot imagine fulfilling our obligations of making available our international players,” said Pommer.
The BBL CEO also said this measure strains the league’s agreement with the German Basketball Federation (DBB), which runs until 2022.
“We also must consider what this means to our agreement with the DBB,” Pommer said.
“We agreed to a contract with the DBB and indirectly with FIBA that we would require our clubs to make available the German and other international players to national team competitions under the condition that it takes place once a year. And now they want it differently. That changes a lot.”
He called it an “acid test” with the DBB.
DBB president Ingo Weiss responded by saying: “Nearly all representatives of international basketball who want to establish the sport on the market and push it forward stand behind the new regulation.”
The league boss said he understands what FIBA wants to do – give their federations more chance to position themselves during the course of the season. But the main issue is how the reforms were declared without any true input and interaction with the clubs.
Pommer said it was very “indicative” that the FIBA board made their decision in Kuala Lumpur – far away from where it would hit hardest – the United States and Europe.
“They let the hammer fall. ‘Yeah of course, that’s gonna hurt, but yeah, well, howdy down there.’,” said Pommer.
The league boss said FIBA acted in the “mania” of being the sport’s world ruling body saying they will decide the rules on their own regardless, noting they did it with the three-point line and the 24-second clock.
“That’s why there is a conflict.”