As the dispute between FIBA and Euroleague rolls on, England Basketball Chief Executive, Simon Kirkland has called for unity within the sport – suggesting that Euroleague meet with FIBA to resolve the differences that currently exist. Furthermore he is asking for the referees who have chosen to be employed by Euroleague as opposed to staying within the International governing body structure, to return to the ‘fold’ and guaranteed that no sanctions by England Basketball would be taken against them, should they wish to withdraw from refereeing in Euroleague.

He said: ‘We would welcome the referees back with open arms. Withdrawing from Euroleague would enable the referees to resume normal duties in the England Basketball structure. The referees are free to choose who employs them and we would welcome them back if they choose to withdraw from Euroleague.

‘Euroleague was created to generate finance for a small number of elite clubs in Europe and we welcome initiatives that make all club basketball more commercially viable. However, Euroleague is in conflict with the FIBA Suproleague. As a National Federation we are part of an International structure, agreed through the European Commission, and as a consequence England Basketball has decided to form a Commission to investigate and advise on the whole issue. The Commission will look in depth into the whole situation regarding our relationship with FIBA and Euroleague in order that our Executive Board will have an informed position following an input from those concerned.

‘The Association has the utmost respect for the referees and we are not in any way questioning their integrity, in fact we are making sure that no questions can be asked. In setting up the Commission we are acting under the rules of England Basketball and will be making sure that this process is thorough. There is much talk in certain quarters and in some cases, legal judgments cast that will be dangerous, potentially prejudging the situation which has a negative affect on the sport. No legal case law exists in this area and that is why we are moving the matter forward in the right and proper manner by forming a Commission to fully investigate the issue.’

For more information contact:

Simon Kirkland: 0113 236 1166