Andrey Vatutin: “This is a political decision, there are no winners”

By Antigoni Zachari / [email protected]

The ECA Shareholders’ decision to exclude Russian clubs from participating in the 2022-23 EuroLeague season sparked a reaction by CSKA Moscow boss Andrey Vatutin, who stated that this was a “political decision” and that “there are no winners here”.

The decision was made before the meeting, and it was difficult to expect a different result,” Vatutin said according to a press release by CSKA Moscow.

The ECA Shareholders held a meeting Thursday to discuss the future of the competition, awarding two wildcards to Partizan NIS Belgrade and Valencia Basket, which will replace CSKA and Zenit St Petersburg next season.

“This is a political decision. Most Euroleague clubs are convinced that the governments of their countries will not allow them to play against Russian teams. I’m sure there are no winners here. By the way, Jordi Bertomeu also noted that this is a forced political step, from which everyone loses, and the league was stronger with CSKA,”  he added.

“There were many words about the importance of CSKA for the tournament, but the decision was still taken against us. These are words, but in fact, Russia was deprived of participation in the Euroleague”.

CSKA and Maccabi were the only two clubs to vote in favor of Russian teams’ inclusion in EuroLeague Basketball competitions next season during Thursday’s meeting. In the second voting, which concerned the approval of provisional lists for both EuroLeague and EuroCup, Maccabi and Panathinaikos abstained.

“It is unfortunate that over the past three months, no one from the leadership of the Euroleague considered it necessary to discuss with Russian clubs the possibility of their participation in the tournament as well as the general situation. As for the legal consequences and our further actions, we need to see how the decision will be formalized legally. After that, together with lawyers, we will make a decision. The issue of depriving CSKA of Euroleague shares was not discussed, we intend to continue to be shareholders of the tournament”

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