At the EuroLeague Women (ELW) Final 8, the FIBA Europe executive committee made an announcement that from the 2013 edition of the EuroLeague competition the number of participating teams would be reduced from 24 to 21.
Furthermore the six teams eliminated during the group phase (also known as the regular season) should integrate into the knock-out phase of EuroCup Women.
Yet the new competition system introduced from the 2011-12 campaign remains in place.
In France the Ligue Féminine de Basketball (LFB) did not make any changes to their own EuroLeague Women qualification rules despite having no guarantee of having three teams next season.
According to the current rules in France, the winners of the Regular Season title, LFB Championship and the French Cup ("Coupe de France") are entered into the 2013 ELW.
Since the 24-team format was introduced in 2007, FIBA Europe had used the wild card system to assure 24 teams taking part in this competition with the French league being awarded one or more place. Last season, in 2011-12, FIBA Europe could not get 24 teams to participate leading to their latter announcement of reducing the number of participants.
With no team from France having qualified for the final stage of this competition since the 2009 edition and based on the competition ranking system, it is unlikely that the LFB will be allocated three teams for 2013.
The importance of the LFB Challenge Round
With Arras winning the French cup, they gained the right of a place in the EuroLeague Women. If they had lost to Bourges, then - after only finishing in 11th place during the regular season -, they would not even have qualified for the EuroCup campaign.
Their opponents Bourges Basket had already qualified for the ELW competition by winning the regular season as well as winning the LFB championship.
With very likely only two spots awarded, second place Montpellier in the regular season as well as in the LFB championship should miss out on the ELW campaign.
Also Tarbes and Basket Landes may suffer the consequence of Arras winning the French Cup by not playing any European club basketball next season.
The remaining three EuroCup places should be allocated to the teams that finished in the top places at the end of the regular season, Lattes Montpellier, Challes-les-Eaux, Mondeville.
Although Arras should be guaranteed a ELW spot for next season by winning the French Cup, the FFBB might still turn them down as they had done in 2010. But Arras also finalists in the EuroCup Women last season should have even a better argument to play in the ELW next season on the assumption that they are financially sound.
If for any reason Arras is not allowed to play in the ELW then Lattes Montpellier will qualify and Arras will play in the EuroCup Women.
If France obtain three ELW spots, then Lattes Montpellier will join Arras and Bourges Basket.
The FFBB will then have the choice on who to nominate as the fifth team for the EuroCup Women.
Again if Arras then is not allowed to play in the ELW, then either Mondeville or Challes-les-Eaux should be offered the third EuroLeague place.
Tarbes should be hoping for three teams to qualify for the EuroLeague competition so that they may get the fifth nomination for EuroCup from the FFBB. Otherwise for only the second time since 1994 there will not be any European basketball for them.
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Date created: 21 May 2012