VTB United League President releases Russian club budgets

During a special press conference today in Moscow, VTB United League President Sergey Ivanov released the budgets of the league’s 10 Russian clubs.

Russian clubs that participate in the League are required to open their budgets to the public. As is tradition, Sergey Ivanov released the figures and commented on them during the meeting with journalists. CSKA, like last season, tops the list in budget size, coming in at 1,836,700,000 rubles. Lokomotiv-Kuban (833,400,000 rubles) and Khimki (685,100,000 rubles) round out the top three richest Russian clubs.  

From there, the list is as follows: UNICS (550,000,000 rubles), Enisey (309,488,000 rubles), Nizhny Novgorod (279,329,000 rubles), Spartak (259,100,000 rubles), Krasny Oktyabr (191,750,000 rubles), Krasnye Krylia (161,000,000 rubles) and Triumph (150,100,000 rubles).

In addition, the VTB United League budget was also made public for the first time. This season it totaled 341,000,000 rubles.

- No other type of sport in Russia has open budgets, - noted Sergey Ivanov. – And we’re going to demand this from all Russian teams. Everything must be transparent. The budgets of six clubs, in connection to the complicated economic situation in the country, unfortunately declined. It’s encouraging that there are clubs, which don’t receive a kopek from the Russian budget—CSKA, Spartak, Krasnye Krylia and Nizhny Novgorod. The rest receive money from the budget to one extent or another. I have always been in favor of teams like this, that don’t receive government money.

During his interaction with journalists, the League President also answered several pertinent questions about the present and future of the competition.

Regarding the prize fund:
- The primary League budget expenses are the prize fund. That’s money for the clubs. Our League has also differentiated itself and been attractive in this way. Clubs in the VTB United League receive more prize money than in the Euroleague.

Regarding the limit on foreign players:
- We examined this issue a long time ago. The rules were adopted on a unanimous vote by 10 Russian clubs. In the League itself there aren’t any limits and there can’t be any. The Russian teams voted for the limit, which exists now: no more than six foreigners available for a game and no limit on players that are on the court.

Regarding League newcomer Krasny Oktyabr:
- I remember how much venom there was, and, excuse me, jeering last year when we gave Krasny Oktyabr the wild card. Now Krasny Oktyabr has already advanced to the playoffs. But they have a problem: They haven’t carried out their obligation thus far to build a new arena. They need to build the arena more quickly. This club is a complete exception from all the Russian rules. The club is completely private—its owner is Dmitry Gerasimenko. He funds the team with his own money.

Regarding the League’s Ukrainian clubs:
- I don’t know what will happen with the Ukrainian clubs, Donetsk and Azovmash. We still have time. Closer to summer, I think, the situation will be resolved. I hope that the Ukrainian clubs can continue to compete in the VTB United League. I’m sorry for Donetsk, which, if not for force majeure obligations—even if it had lost its final three games in the regular season—would have made the playoffs. But the club administration informed us of the existing situation—all of the leading players left the team and they couldn’t play at their former level, plus they couldn’t guarantee safety at their home games. It’s sad that it happened that way. The team in Donetsk was good.

Regarding the League’s foreign participants:
- The foreign clubs that play in the League are satisfied with everything and haven’t announced their departure from the competition. There are sensible people there. They don’t mix politics and sports. I hope that it won’t come to that. These are completely different things—sports and politics.

Regarding Slovakian club Inter:
- League general director Andrey Shirokov met with the management of this club, which informed of its desire to enter the league next season. The most important thing we need from them is a financial proposal. There aren’t any such guarantees yet. The infrastructure in Bratislava is there and it meets all of the necessary requirements.

Regarding the competition format:
- Theoretically, there could be 22 participants in the VTB United League. But that’s the limit. Of the 10 Russian clubs, eight play in European cups. It’s impossible to increase the number of games. Consider, teams play 18 games in the regular season, plus the playoffs. Plus another 30 games in the Eurocup and Euroleague. If we made it a full round robin, then there would be 38 games during the season alone. That’s a lot. You can’t bite off more than you can chew.