UEFA-hit Beşiktaş receives Euroleague consolation

UEFA-hit Beşiktaş receives Euroleague consolation

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
UEFA-hit Beşiktaş receives Euroleague consolation

Beşiktaş will compete in the Euroleague for the first time in its history. AFP photo

A day after suffering the exclusion from European football competitions, Beşiktaş was consoled when its basketball team was called to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.

The Turkish Airlines Euroleague added Beşiktaş Milangaz to its list of next season’s participants, meaning the team will play in the top-level continental basketball competition for the first time in its history.

Beşiktaş Milangaz will join Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahçe Ülker at the competition. Last year, Galatasaray Medical Park joined Efes and Fenerbahçe in the competition, but missed out on a chance for automatic qualification after being knocked out in the Beko Turkish Basketball League (TBL) semifinals.

Galatasaray still holds a chance of playing in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague qualifiers through a wild-card, NTV Spor reported.

Initial statements suggested that Beşiktaş Milangaz would only be accepted to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague if it won the TBL title. Beşiktaş Milangaz is currently playing against Anadolu Efes in the best-of-seven TBL final series.

“We won’t lose the final. But still of course, we are happy,” coach Ergin Ataman said to NTV Spor.

Best season
Beşiktaş is having its best season ever, having clinched the Eurochallenge, the third-tier European cup, and the Turkish Cup.

“I think we deserve to be in the Euroleague with our overall performance this season and the atmosphere at the Sinan Erdem Dome,” Ataman said. “This is important news for me, but it is a bigger gain for the Euroleague.”

Beşiktaş’s Euroleague qualification came a day after the club’s football team was suspended from playing in European competitions for one year. On May 30, UEFA announced it had banned Beşiktaş and two other Turkish clubs, Bursaspor and Gaziantepspor, due to financial misdemeanors.

Chairman Fikret Orman, who was only elected a few months ago, showed the way for getting out of the financial crisis.

“It brought me an agony to see that Beşiktaş was involved in such affairs,” Orman said in a press conference late May 30. “I promise those affairs will not happen again – at least during my term.”

“The club will act within its budget,” Orman said, in reference to the uncontrolled budget during previous chairman Yıldırım Demirören’s helm. “Instead of transfers that look nice to fans, we will act within our budget. We have to do it.”