Good news for Mac TA vis-a-vis Final Four

Euroleague changes time of title game to accommodate yellow-and-blue’s Yom Hazikaron conflict.

Maccabi TA huddle 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kilger)
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.
Maccabi had 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.
“The decision 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 Wednesday.
“An extraordinary effort was made and eventually the solution was found.”
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 read.
“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 enjoyment.
Euroleague Basketball has made sure that the best teams this season, as proven on the court, will compete for the Euroleague title at the Final Four.”
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.”