Eastern European League may be created on Russian initiative in following years
Following the results of yesterday’s session of BEKO PBL Council, its chairman Andrey Vatutin has confirmed the earlier reports by Sports.ru that PBL and VTB United League have agreed on a merger into the Easterb European League starting from 2012-13 season.
«The existence of two competing leagues in essentially the same geographical space is bad from various points of view. Such a situation can hardly benefit the development of professional club sports, does not promote the inflow of investments, dilutes the interest of fans, creates problems with the identification of the two leagues. I even don’t mentions the problems of basketball broadcasting on TV – two leagues never will receive an equal time on screens. I think, it’s for our mutual benefit to strive for a single league.
«I’ve always said that any possible cooperation should be grounded first of all on the interests of Russian teams, regardless of their geographical location. Together with the VTB League’s management we have spent a lot of meetings and consultations recently and have understood that we can reach a compromise. Therefore, BEKO PBL clubs have offered the VTB League with to increase the Russian representation as much as possible already in 2011-12 season, maybe, using some qualifying tournaments. It will allow to optimize the overloaded calendar and to hold the BEKO PBL championship in two rounds without affecting some of the teams. If our request is supported by Sergey Ivanov, president of the VTB League, with whom have I already had preliminary discussions on this subject, the upcoming season will see eight Russian teams in the VTB League.
«AS for the carrying out the BEKO PBL Russian championship we intend to adhere to the existing contract with the Russian Basketball Federation. As a result of all these steps we have to create a strong Eastern European League with a maximum number of Russian teams in a year or two. It is long and laborious work which can take more than a year,» stated Vatutin as quoted by the PBL official site.