Coronavirus

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Istanbul: no champions as EuroLeague calls time on 2019-20 season

The EuroLeague was building towards its climax when the coronavirus pandemic struck but the decision has been made to bring the campaign to an end.

Coronavirus: EuroLeague season cancelled, no 2019-20 champions

Basketball's EuroLeague season has been abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic and there will be no 2019-20 champions, it was announced on Monday. Anadolu Efes Istanbul sat top of the standings, ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona, with CSKA Moscow fourth and Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv in fifth place.

The campaign was still in its regular-season stage when the coronavirus pandemic forced the league to be suspended in March.

Five teams had already secured play-off places after 28 of the scheduled 34 rounds of games, with three more berths up for grabs.

However, the EuroLeague Commercial Assets (ECA) executive board declared the season over, announcing the 2020-21 EuroLeague will start on October 1.

ECA makes "most difficult decision in 20-year history"

It said "every possible option" had been explored before reaching that decision, also announcing the cancellation of the EuroCup campaign.

Given the spread of Covid-19, its degrees of evolution, and the differing ways in which its spread is being controlled within Europe, the ECA said there were "no guarantees" teams would be able to travel to games.

The ECA added in a statement: "In keeping with our continued values of sports integrity and fairness, the executive board decided not to recognise any team as the champion for the 2019-20 EuroLeague, nor the EuroCup."

Euroleague Basketball president and chief executive Jordi Bertomeu said: "Without a doubt, this is the most difficult decision we have had to take in our 20-year history.

"Obviously, we had many motivations to resume the 2019-20 season, but in such an exceptional situation, we have to put people's health first and ahead of any other interest: our players, our coaches, our referees, our clubs, their staff, our league staff, our broadcasters, and all of their families. By doing so, we stay true to our beliefs and what we stand for."