Maccabi TA huddle 311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kilger)
After days of deliberations and discussions, Maccabi Tel Aviv got the news it
was hoping for on Wednesday when the Euroleague announced that the Final Four
title game will be brought forward to 17:30 Israel time to ensure it will finish
before the commencing of Yom Hazikaron on Sunday, May 8.
alerted the Euroleague to the problem earlier this season, but it was only after
Tel Aviv booked its place in the Final Four with a 3-1 series victory over Caja
Laboral Vitoria last Thursday that the organizers understood that something had
to be done or the yellow- and-blue would forfeit its place.
was made after long discussions as there were many obstacles to overcome,” said
Maccabi chairman Shimon Mizrahi, who together with part-owner David Federman and
CEO Eli Driks met Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu in Spain on
“An extraordinary effort was made and eventually the solution
The schedule for the semifinals was also announced on
Wednesday, with Maccabi to face the winner of the series between Real Madrid and
Valencia, which will be decided on Thursday night, at 10 p.m. Israel time on
Friday, May 6.
Panathinaikos will play Montepaschi Siena in the first
semi of the day at 7 p.m.
“After careful study and consultation with all
clubs and partners involved, Euroleague Basketball established the definitive
schedule of games at the Final Four taking into consideration the legal concerns
of one of the qualified teams, Maccabi Tel Aviv,” a Euroleague press release
“The new tipoff time for the title game is two hours sooner than
the scheduled local time of the earliest recent final, which was 18:40 at the
2005 Final Four in Moscow.
“Euroleague Basketball would like to thank all
parties and partners involved in understanding the situation and assisting us in
reaching a general consensus on this decision. Two concerns have been paramount
throughout the decision-making process: basketball integrity and fan
Euroleague Basketball has made sure that the best teams this
season, as proven on the court, will compete for the Euroleague title at the
Maccabi coach David Blatt was understandably delighted to
hear that his team will get the chance to cap a superb season by competing in
the Final Four.
“This is a very good feeling,” Blatt said. “We are full
of appreciation for our management which worked so hard to solve this
problematic situation. I also have a lot of warmth in my heart for the
Euroleague, which helped us and did the right thing for everyone, and they
deserve credit for that.
“We did our job on the court to get Maccabi and
thousands of our fans to the Final Four, the showcase event of European
basketball, and we are very happy at the moment.”
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