As a potential NBA return gains momentum, the world’s second-most competitive professional basketball league won’t resume its 2019/20 season. The remainder of the ’19/20 EuroLeague and EuroCup seasons have officially been canceled, according to a press release.
While 29 of 30 NBA teams play in the United States, EuroLeague and EuroCup teams come from all over Europe, which complicated a return to play. Within its announcement, the ECA Shareholders Executive Board noted that there was no guarantee all teams would be able to hold training camps and prepare for games under the same conditions, or that all clubs would be able to travel to and from the necessary location(s).
The decision comes on the heels of the EuroLeague Players Association urging the league to cancel the season due to concerns about limited preparation time and an increased injury risk. The Executive Board cited those concerns in its press release as well, stressing that player safety was its top priority.
“Without a doubt, this is the most difficult decision we have had to take in our 20-year history,” Euroleague Basketball president and CEO Jordi Bertomeu said in a statement. “Due to reasons beyond our control, we have been forced to cut short the most successful and exciting season in European basketball history. 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.”
At the time the EuroLeague season was suspended in March, Turkey’s Anadolu Efes – led by former NBA guards Shane Larkin and Rodrigue Beaubois, along with Sixers draft-and-stash prospect Vasilije Micic – was in first place with a 24-4 record, followed by Real Madrid and Barcelona at 22-6.
The 2020/21 EuroLeague season is now scheduled to begin on October 1, with the same 18 teams that played in the league this year returning for next season, per today’s announcement.
The ’20/21 EuroCup season, meanwhile, is tentatively set to tip off on September 30, with eight of 24 teams locked in for next year as a result of qualifying for this year’s quarterfinals. The other 16 spots will be determined based on this season’s domestic league standings.