EuroLeague and EuroCup Basketball 2019-20 Seasons Canceled Due to COVID-19

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2020

BELGRADE, SERBIA - MARCH 06: Tyler Dorsey of Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv takes on Kevin Punter of Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade during the 2019/2020 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 28 match between Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade and Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv at Aleksandar Nikolic Hall on March 6, 2020 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images)
Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images

The EuroLeague and EuroCup basketball seasons have been canceled for 2019-20, the governing body announced Monday.

Competition had been suspended since March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the leagues had a self-imposed deadline of late May to make a decision about the rest of the year.

EuroLeague Basketball President and CEO Jordi Bertomeu provided a statement on the decision:

"Without a doubt, this is the most difficult decision we have had to take in our 20-year history. Due to reasons beyond our control, we have been forced to cut short the most successful and exciting season in European basketball history. This comes after two-and-a-half months in which all the league's stakeholders maintained their determination and exhausted every possible avenue in trying to deliver a complete and uniquely special season to our fans, whose passion is the driving force for all our efforts."

The Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament and EuroLeague Academy have also been canceled.

The EuroLeague consists of 18 teams across 10 countries vying for a continental title. Luka Doncic led Real Madrid to a title in 2018, while CSKA Moscow are the defending champs.

Anadolu Efes Istanbul were in first through 28 games with a 24-4 record with two games remaining in the regular season. However, even leading scorer Shane Larkin, who spent four years in the NBA, recently said on Instagram the season should be canceled. 

"Personally, there are multiple reasons as to why I would want the season to continue. We as a team (as Efes) have been playing great basketball since the start of the season. We have a two-game lead on first place, and many people have picked us to win the championship. While that is the goal that we set out on in the beginning of the season, realistically the safety and well-being of all people involved is much more important."

The league announced no trophy will be awarded for the 2019-20 season.

The 2020-21 EuroLeague season is expected to run as scheduled, beginning on Oct. 1. It will feature the same 18 teams that competed this past year, while training camps will be longer than usual "in order to allow players to recover their physical and mental shape in time for the new season."