Credit: VTB League
Credit VTB League

The next season in the VTB United League will begin with the Super Cup, which will be held on September 18-19 at the VTB Arena. It will be attended by 4 leading Russian clubs – CSKA, UNICS, Zenit and Lokomotiv-Kuban.

Following the season's first League Board, a press conference was held in the TASS press center with the participation of Honorary President of the League Sergey Ivanov, President Sergey Kushchenko and General Director Ilona Korstin.

Sergey Ivanov weighed in on the outcome of the last campaign, touched on Khimki's withdrawal from the league, and announced that VTB club's budget will be divulged around September 10.

"It is worth noting that the intensity of the competition has increased, three clubs managed to beat CSKA for the first time in their history in last regular-season - Zielona Gora, PARMA, and Kalev. And for the first time in the history of the tournament, the team that took only 4th place at the end of the regular season became the champion. This is also a certain surprise," Ivanov stated in the beginning.

"We have approved the regulations for the next season. As expected, 12 teams will take part in it. Khimki, for obvious reasons, will not be able to take part, although the management of the Moscow Region team announced that they were ready to play in the Super League – the second strongest Russian league – and in the VTB Youth League, which we were very pleased to hear.

The vast majority of the League’s clubs are private commercial clubs. That makes me happy because I have said many times and for many years that I am categorically against public financing of professional sports clubs. Public funding should be used for youth and children's sports projects, for the preparation of national teams and Olympic teams. Professional sports should be outside the public funding.

As for Khimki, unfortunately, this is a modern sport. We live in a world where professional teams periodically appear and disappear. Khimki is not the first. I hope that new clubs will appear soon. We expect that Samara will finish building a decent sports arena and will be able to apply for entry into the VTB League if it finds funding. Theoretically, Khimki can return to the VTB United League.

I personally understand what happened with Khimki. At the beginning of the season, the budget of the Moscow Region team was equal to that of CSKA, and according to some expert estimates even exceeded it. But then the only sponsor stopped funding. I will not say publicly why he stopped funding. What happened, the management of Khimki should say. So let them explain why the funding stopped," the Honorary President pointed out.

Talking about the budgets of clubs and the league itself, Ivanov said that "around September 10, we will open them. I repeat that we are the only sports league in Russia that fully opens its budgets. You can see everything in them: how much is spent on players, how much is spent on the coaching staff, how much is spent on flights and how much is earned on tickets. And it is not the first year that we have been disclosing these figures. I believe that the League is on the right track.

Looking ahead, I will say that the budget of the VTB United League did not suffer a penny, all the sponsors kept their obligations despite the fact that some were in a difficult situation. But we were not hurt. We spend only 9% of the budget on the maintenance of the VTB United League, the rest we spend on clubs. Therefore, the VTB League is an attractive tournament for the teams.

But the teams suffered a little, at least because of the tickets, there was no full occupancy. VTB United League also missed earnings due to the fact that it could not fully fill the arena for the All-Star Game due to coronavirus restrictions. But even the fact that we got 50% is already not bad. In general, the All-Star Game is getting a stable interesting character, because we have very little basketball propaganda."

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