It's not everyday that fans get to pitch their questions at the main decision-maker of a sport's top continental competition. That was the case this week, however, as Euroleague Basketball CEO Jordi Bertomeu answered your Fan Mail, which came from all over Europe and beyond. Of course, several fans chose questions that only a CEO could answer, about the whys and wherefores of some of the competition's structures and norms. Bertomeu explained why some situations exist, while at the same time assuring that Euroleague Basketball is always looking to improve the competitions for the good of the fans. "The competition remained tough in the regular season right up to the last game, because many teams still had several goals to achieve in terms of getting the best place for the Top 16 Draw," Bertomeu said in one response. "That doesn't stop us from thinking that some modifications may be made. We already announced that we will look at some changes in the competition system before the end of this season."
In the Italian League, instant replay has been tested successfully. Do you consider introducing it in Euroleague matches as well in the near future?
Alessandro - Rome, Italy
"Hello, Alessandro. Well, we used the instant replay in the Final Four already and we are using it again for the playoffs this season. There is a problem in trying to do it for the entire season, however. You only have one broadcaster in Italy, SkySports, while there are 13 different broadcasters in the Euroleague. It is much more difficult to implement the instant replay with 13 different broadcasters."
Dear Mr. Bertomeu, I am huge fan of the Euroleague for almost for 30 years. I think it is an extremely well-organized competition. Congratulations on that and I hope you will continue with fantastic achievements. My question: What is the exact situation about the Serbian champion and the three-year contract? Best regards,
Mirko Banicevic - Belgrade, Serbia
"Thanks, Mirko, we appreciate your comments. The Serbian League champion has a one-year contract. If this situation changes in the future, it will be because there is an agreement between the Serbian League, the Serbian teams and the Adriatic League. We would then have to take this issue to a Euroleague Assembly, where it would be debated whether Serbia should get a three-year contract or just as now, the Serbian League champion keeps getting a one-year license. But they have to reach an agreement first."
Hello, Jordi. It seems to me that there was something of a big gap in quality during this year's regular season between even the middle teams and the ones at the bottom of each group. Do you agree and is it a concern of yours? Best regards,
Raul - Spain
"Well, Raul, it seems that the competitiveness went down a bit because of some easy wins here and there. But the competition remained tough in the regular season right up to the last game, because many teams still had several goals to achieve in terms of getting the best place for the Top 16 Draw. That doesn't stop us from thinking that some modifications may be made. We already announced that we will look at some changes in the competition system before the end of this season. We are worried about the decrease of competitiveness in several domestic leagues. That is very important for us, because the quality of domestic leagues reflects on the quality of the Euroleague."
Hello. Why will teams like Le Mans and Armani Jeans (no offense to their fans) play next year in the Euroleague and Lietuvos Rytas won't? This question is very important to all Lithuanians. Sincerely yours,
Robertas - Vilnius, Lithuania
"Hello, Robertas. The Euroleague system has its own rules and regulations that give each country a certain number of teams in the competition. Situations like this can happen, and it is true that Le Mans and Armani Jeans Milano are worse teams that Lietuvos Rytas, but that depends on each country. This is not a league that allows teams to be promoted or relegated, as happens in the domestic leagues. There are certain countries in the league, and each country has a certain number of teams. Therefore, that is the situation we have. We are speaking about a country of 3 million inhabitants versus others with 70 million or 80 million. This is also something to consider. Even so, we know this poses a problem, as there are teams that can play the Euroleague one year and then return to the ULEB Cup the following season. We are studying how to renovate the competition system to solve the problem. We are currently studying the possibilities, so that if a team like Lietuvos Rytas does well in the Euroleague, it can be back in the competition the next season, unlike what happened with Dynamo Moscow from last season to this."
Which cities you would like to see in Euroleague; only speaking about the city itself, not its actual basketball power?
Ball In Europe - France
"Hello to everyone at Ball in Europe and thanks for your Euroleague coverage. It is a very clear that we would like to have projects in big European cities where we are not present right now, such as Paris and London. This cannot be done out of the blue, of course; it requires a basketball culture and years of hard work. We believe that this basketball culture already exists in Berlin. Maybe its club, Alba Berlin, needs a bigger investment. But we would definitely like to have consolidated projects in Paris and London."
Dear Mr. Bertomeu, Congratulations on the FANTASTIC job you are doing as Euroleague CEO. It is very exciting to follow such great teams in one big competition. I am fan trying to follow Euroleague games from the USA and my question is about the website, on which I have been experiencing problems trying to follow the games live. Are you planning some more improvements on the website? Best Regards,
Ozer Akus - Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
"Thank you for your kind words, Ozer. Yes, we are concerned about the problems on our website. We changed the website to improve it, but we ended up having more problems than we expected. We are working on this issue, it is a priority for us and, above all, I want to apologize to everyone because of the bad service we are offering right now."
Hi. I'm a Zalgiris fan and I want to ask you: What was your favorite club when you were young? Thank you,
Romanas - Lithuania
"Hello, Romanas. Yes, I had a favorite club when I was young, just like everybody else. Mine was Joventut Badalona."
There are some rumors about the end of the NBA Europe Live Tour. Can you confirm these rumors or explain how exactly this concept will go ahead?
Ball In Europe - France
"First of all, without knowing what the rumors are, it is difficult to respond. All we can say is that we are working to reach another two-year agreement with the NBA. Due to calendar problems, it is probable that the games between NBA teams and Euroleague teams will take place in the United States, not in Europe, next season. But after that, games are expected to take place in Europe once again. All we need is to define the agreement."
Mr. Bertomeu, do you find "fair" and "appropriate" the participation of four Italian teams in the Euroleague in comparison with three Greek ones? With great respect,
Dr. Thomas Stergiopoulos - Athens, Greece
"Thanks for your question, Thomas. It is true that some of the Italian teams have not lived up to the expectations this season, but it is also true that we consider their performances over the last three or four years. The situation in Greece matches exactly its market demands. In fact, Greece has three teams in the Euroleague and not all of them match our requirements. Some others even have trouble to match the ULEB Cup requirements. It is true that the situation cannot depend on one season, but must be considered over several seasons. If this situation was repeated in Italy for several years, we have internal mechanisms to match their market requirements and dimension. If we were to find that four teams were too many, Italy would go down to three."
Mr. Bertomeu, there was talk about having the Final Four in neutral sites like Prague again. Is that still in the plans, to take it away from a Euroleague team's home city, in the future? Thanks,
Richard - France
"Thank you, Richard. First of all, we never see the sites as non-neutral, because they are chosen many months before the teams qualify to the Final Four. Once I said that, I must add that we try to combine traditional basketball markets with others that don't have so much tradition, but enjoy several other advantages. If we speak about Prague, it is an attractive city for tourism. We hope to keep working with the same philosophy, combining what we call 'basketball markets' with some others like Berlin or Stockholm, cities without Euroleague teams but important enough to become attractive the way that Prague, Athens, Barcelona and Tel Aviv were in the past. Of course, we would like to have the Final Four in France, especially in Paris. We already have had some conversations and it is surely a possibility in the future."