Here are some quotes from Ostoja Mijailovic, president of Partizan, from Friday’s press conference in which the team announced the intention to play in EuroCup next season:
– When Euroleague made that decision, the biggest losers in the European basketball were Partizan and Efes. I can’t say that it’s a sports injustice, because those are all circumstances. People from Euroleague thought that it is the decision that brings the least damage to Euroleague. We accepted it. I didn’t want to make any statement before our Board meeting. We are not frustrated, we understand everything. We tried to make the decision with cool heads.
– I congratulate all the teams that qualified for the Euroleague. I can’t say that it is a success of the management and the success of certain clubs. There were no other options. I also think that it’s an art to play in Euroleague without winning a single trophy.
– In this season, Partizan was, by all standards, above the level of the EuroCup competition. Organization of our games, our results, number of spectators… We had more fans than most of the teams in the Euroleague.
– The decision I had to make was the hardest in my life and probably the hardest in the history of the club. We got ourselves in the situation, unfairly, where we had to choose if we are going left or right. We talked with Euroleague and FIBA. I want to thank them for the partnership approach and understanding of the situation we were in. This decision is not against FIBA or Euroleague.
– We had four options. Euroleague was the first one – that never happened.
– The second option is the FIBA. This is the best competition for Partizan when we are talking about finance. One part of the Board members, mostly people from the business world, like myself, are looking at the situation that we are in, and they thought that it’s probably wiser to go to the BCL, to secure finance. To play in the competition where you will have a bigger income if you do your job good, and have good results.
– There was even an option not to participate in the European competition for a year, to focus on ABA.
– The fourth option was EuroCup again. That is the competition from which two teams should go to Euroleague. Neither one of us feels good to play in EuroCup because we are above that competition for a long time now. But we know what is the value of that competition.
– That divided the Board meeting… We made the decision that, whatever we decide, the sponsors and the Board members stay with Partizan.
– So, on the one side, we had finance, on the other we had basketball. I’m a man from the economic world, and I should first think commercially, but I got some sports knowledge for three years working in Partizan, and I decided to stay with Euroleague, to compete in EuroCup. I have to thank FIBA, they gave us support, they gave us a great basketball offer, we had an open option without blackmailing us, there was nothing we had to do. It’s our decision and we will fight that decision in the future.
– This decision was based on the fact that Partizan belongs to the European elite. And if the situation one-day changes, Partizan will think again. Partizan has friends in FIBA and Euroleague, and both competitions would like to see Partizan there. Partizan doesn’t belong to EuroCup but in Euroleague.