7DAYS EuroCup head coaches from across the continent descended upon Barcelona, Spain on Friday to prepare for a new and exciting 2017-18 season with the Euroleague Basketball officiating department. The meeting came straight after the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague head coaches had met, as part of the ongoing Euroleague Basketball Institute Annual Workshops. It was the first time that EuroCup coaches were invited exclusively and served for them to add their voice to determining the officiating points of emphasis for the upcoming season.
"Over 15 successful seasons, the 7DAYS EuroCup has proven again and again its status as an inclusive, attractive and dramatic competition for clubs, players, coaches, referees and most importantly spectators," Jordi Bertomeu, President and CEO of Euroleague Basketball, said. "Next season, the EuroCup will see teams from eight European capital cities in addition to major markets such as Lyon, Munich, St Petersburg and Turin. The competition includes multiple former EuroLeague and EuroCup champions, so now is the perfect time to boost the promotion and visibility of the EuroCup. As part of our ongoing initiative to bring the EuroCup closer to the EuroLeague, we are very happy to have welcomed the head coaches from both competitions to spend the same full day with our officiating department, working together to improve our respective work."
The EuroCup's media rights centralisation will include an investment in video production and marketing to grow the quality and footprint, including having all EuroCup games available for the first time at the existing OTT Euroleague.tv platform. In 2016-17, an improved EuroCup competition format saw the Regular Season and Top 16 followed by three best-of-three playoffs series until Unicaja Malaga was crowned champion. The 2017-18 edition of the EuroCup will feature 24 teams from 12 countries battling from October 11 until April 16 for the next crown, which as always comes with a place in the 2018-19 EuroLeague.
"Obviously, the competition is growing and all 24 teams don't just want to play their domestic league, but also to join a strong competition like the EuroCup," ALBA Berlin head coach Aito Garcia Reneses said. "It is important to have the best organization possible and meetings like this help a lot; it makes things better for everyone. The competition improved a lot over the last 10 years. The EuroCup has been around for many years and that makes it more and more interesting not only for the participating teams, but also for fans."
"It is definitely important that the main four groups of people in basketball – players, referees, coaches and fans – are on the same page," Cedevita Zagreb head coach Jure Zdovc said. "It is not easy but we have to try, and this meeting definitely helps. It is nice to meet the officiating department not just on the court. It is very important to have a connection with them off the court."
Led by Richard Stokes, Euroleague Basketball's Director of Officiating, the session benefitted from the input of the coaches, who heard about plans to use instant replay systems more extensively next season. They spent the day discussing the rules, interpretations and regulations to define which require emphasis so that fans enjoy the EuroCup to its fullest.
"Anytime we sit down with coaches we always come away having had great conversations," Mr. Stokes said. "Due to their position being different to that of the players and referees, coaches play a very important role in how the game is practiced, coached and therefore played. The current generation of coaches enrich the teaching that we can provide for our referees, so that the product on the court is cleaned up for the benefit of our fans. All of the suggestions the coaches made today are greatly valued."