Sergei Ivanov: League Is Alive And Developing

The VTB United League's honorary president Sergei Ivanov spoke with journalists following Saturday's League Board meeting.

On changes in League leadership: I'm grateful to Andrey Shirokov for the work he did. We invited him to stay in the League, and even offered him a promotion, but he decided to move on. All we can do is wish him luck. Ilona Korstin has worked in the league for three years. She knows the inner workings and how everything is set up. She'll be able to jump right in and get to work on the League's future development.

On the participating clubs and budget: The VTB United League is alive and developing. We've been joined by new sponsors, which allowed us to increase the League budget. Much of those funds will go to the clubs. The number of clubs compared to last season has decreased slightly: there were 16, now there are 14. Unfortunately, because of financial reasons, three good teams left us: the upcoming season will not feature Bisons, Vita, or, unfortunately, Czech Nymburk, which has looked good and made the postseason.

On the calendar: There are fewer teams in the league. As a result, there will be fewer games. But given that almost all the Russian clubs are in European tournaments, the number of games in a season is only going to grow. I already said in April at the press conference that teams like CSKA and UNICS will virtually play an NBA-style season. In other words, games every three days. Can you imagine the flights? I'll tell you directly, that's a serious problem for clubs, but what can you do, they wanted to play in all the tournaments. I wish them success.

On regulations infractions: As for our clubs, I gave a stern warning today that in the event of poor-quality TV broadcasts, bad lighting or chilly temperatures in the arena, fines would be quickly assessed. If there are systematic violations, teams will simply be excluded from the League.

On Krasny Oktyabr: There were a lot of questions around Krasny Oktyabr. But the club made significant changes and elected a president. Plus, the club guaranteed that it would rebrand in addition to completing its arena. By the start of the season, I think we'll have BC Volgograd instead of Krasny Oktyabr.

On the Euroleague and FIBA conflict: No, we didn't discuss that. What does that have to do with us... Both I and my colleagues have already spoken out many times. We are victims here, if you want to put it that way, of this drawn-out conflict. Of course, we look forward to everything ending and everyone being able to get to work.

On the new League shareholder: Our sponsor, SIBUR, will become one of the League shareholders. That gives them a vote and spot on the Board. Other major sponsors--VTB Bank and SOGAZ--are also considering this step of not only giving money, but also becoming shareholders. We would solve key questions together: marketing and television, which is standard for any professional league.

On selling rights: The League has sold TV and so-called betting rights for the first time. We're talking about foreign companies that handle bets, including electronic betting. The deal was for one million euros. Of course, it doesn't cover all expenses. We need to be objective. That said, this is the first time we have received income from television and bookmakers. In addition, our agreement with Match TV remains in effect. A minimum of 50 games will be shown on public television and the playoffs will be shown in their entirety.