SPORTS

Changes in basketball

The country’s national basketball league, A1, is set for some mid-season revisions to regulations, namely the addition of a third referee during games, and the removal of quotas imposed on clubs for players hailing from candidate EU member states. Until now, Greek clubs have been free to field as many players from the EU as they wish as locals. Under the new regulations, this freedom will be extended to nationals of prospective EU members. Apart from the EU and its prospective members, each team will be permitted to include two foreigners in its squad. The revisions, which have come as a result of unanimous pressure from the national league’s 14 clubs, represented through ESAKE, the Hellenic Basketball Clubs Association, are expected to come into play when domestic competition recommences on January 5, after its short break for the end-of-year festivities. Whether the addition of a third referee – as is the case in the NBA – will provide a more watchful eye on the action or create confusion remains to be seen. As for the relaxation of quotas on nationals of prospective EU states, these will immediately offer benefits to three clubs, Peristeri, Near East, and Olympiakos, which, until now, had unsuccessfully attempted to field players from EU candidate states as locals. ASEAD, the country’s Supreme Council for the Resolution of Sports Disputes, had refused the clubs local-player status for players hailing from Poland, one of 12 EU candidates, and Turkey. However, despite these measures, which are intended to bolster professionalism, not a word has been uttered by the league’s administrative bodies on marketing programs to counter poor attendance figures. Most clubs have been playing to crowds of no more 400 fans in recent times. Moreover, little has been said about payment delays to players. How did you manage to work in the same theater in the last 30 years, without actually owning it?