Crvena Zvezda president Nebojsa Covic commented on the discussions about Serbian teams exiting the ABA League and weighed in on Serbian NT's World Cup presence. He also provided a timeframe in which he thinks the club should be allocated a permanent EuroLeague license.

Credit: Credit Marko Metlas/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Credit Credit Marko Metlas/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

The last meeting of the Serbian Basketball League (KLS) was presented as a step towards the improvement of Serbian basketball.

Echoing Svetislav Pesic's recent remarks, there were discussions on forming a new competition that would allow Serbian teams to have access to the EuroLeague and the Eurocup. According to that scenario, from the 2025-26 season, clubs from Serbia would most likely leave the ABA League. 

On that occasion, the president of Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet Belgrade, Nebojsa Covic, explained the situation.

"We had good and constructive sessions with the presidency and the assembly of the KLS. We dealt with the statute, new regulations, lists of delegates, judges and controllers," Covic stated in a conversation with the media at Stara Planina, during a seminar attended by club representatives, coaches and all KLS officials.

"It was agreed that the league would launch an initiative on the formation of a professional KLS in two seasons, in order to reach possible entry into European competitions through it. The point is to start preparing for it on time, in order not to fall behind while changes are taking place in European basketball," the former Belgrade mayor continued.

Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade did not play in the Serbian League (KLS) playoffs last season due to an administrative error. They might not compete in the next year's competition either.

The KLS Licensing Committee did not approve the club's request for a license, also because the organization has outstanding debts to the Serbian Basketball Association (KSS) and the Regional Basketball Association (RKS).

"Last year, [Partizan] gave up on the Super League, and this year they made a comeback. This is an indication of how serious KSS is about this," Covic said. "Olympiacos did something similar, so you know how they were punished. But it's superfluous to talk about it, I already said everything I had to say on that topic."

Covic felt the need to respond to the remarks of Pesic, who maintains that the competition system should be changed, in addition to Serbian teams leaving the ABA league. It seems that the two of them are on the same page to a certain extent.

"I've been saying that we need changes for 3-4 years," Covic said. "Now, Pesic's story is fine, and that is that the [silver] medal must not cover up our shortcomings. We have to roll up our sleeves and work on a new structure that is necessary, both for KLS and the Basketball Federation of Serbia.

And let me just say to Pesic that we have a league and it would be good for him to visit that league. He made an excellent result, but you know what they say, 'Don't get too carried away in victory, just as you shouldn't get carried away in defeat either.' It's necessary to have the right measure of things".

"I respect Pesic," Covic went on to say.

"I worked with him in 2001 and 2002, when we won gold [at the EuroBasket and the World Cup, respectively]. He is destined for titles, but this is the first time he has lost in the final.

That was a great success, the players were phenomenal. I also think that the unfortunate event with Boris [Simanic] was an important factor. Thank God, he survived and I hope he will recover and continue his career," Red Star's president argued.

Moreover, Covic took the opportunity to touch on one of the most-discussed topics -- Zvezda obtaining a EuroLeague A License.

"I'm still clear on that. I think that with our 10 years of work we have shown and proved that we have competitive teams with significantly lower budgets than some European clubs. So, we are waiting for all those decisions that should happen in the next two seasons," he said. 

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