Olympiacos and Panathinaikos facing uphill battle to join ABA League
Both Olympiacos and Panathinaikos have requested to join the ABA League for the 2019/2020 season, but it’s highly doubtful whether the pair will be granted permission to participate in the championship.
Yesterday, Olympiacos were officially relegated to the second division by ESAKE following their refusal to play Panathinaikos in the quarter-finals of the Basket League playoffs. Ever since the club forfeited February’s Greek Cup semi-final against Panathinaikos, the Erythrolefki have spoken of their desire to leave the Basket League in favour of the ABA League, but their prospects of switching to the Balkan championship aren’t overly bright.
Panathinaikos have also applied to join the ABA League.
Greek participation in the ABA League was discussed in a General Assembly on Friday. This following press release was published after the meeting finished:
“After a constructive discussion that lasted for several hours, the clubs have reached a decision that the existing normative acts need to be supplemented with a goal of preventing the images like those from the previous ABA League Finals in the future and which were not in accordance with the principles on which the ABA League has been built.
ABA League Assembly did not extend the mandate of the current management and reached a decision to start the procedure of selecting the new management as soon as possible.
The Assembly has been discussing the requests of Olympiacos, Panathinaikos and Bnei Herzliya to be accepted in the competition. The assembly has concluded that, in order for this topic to be discussed, it is above all necessary for those clubs to submit complete documentation in accordance with the founding acts of the ABA league, which requires also the approval of their domestic basketball federations, to which they belong.
In the end, the ABA League Assembly has concluded that ABA League represents a path for the progress, promotion and development of the basketball across the region and that as such it represents absolute priority of all clubs.”
ABA League chairman Igor Dodik expressed his position against the expansion of the championship, and if his point of view is supported at the next General Assembly, it will not be possible under any circumstances for Olympiacos and Panathinaikos to join the league.
Both Olympiacos and Panathinaikos require documents from the Hellenic Basketball Federation which issue permission for the two clubs to play in the ABA League.
The next ABA League General Assembly is due to take place in the coming weeks.
In the event Olympiacos are refused entry to the ABA League, their youth team will compete in the Greek Second Division, while the seniors only play in the EuroLeague. It has already been confirmed that Olympiacos will continue to compete in the EuroLeague next season.
Crvena Zvezda are the current ABA League champions after defeating Buducnost 3-2 in this season’s final. Clubs from Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Slovenia currently play in the championship.