Professional basketball clubs in Europe can compete in a number of different competitions, including national leagues, regional (multi-national) leagues, and continental competitions. It is therefore possible for clubs from some countries to take part in several levels of competition in the same season. Clubs usually qualify for European competitions through performance in their national or regional leagues, with the exception of wild cards.
There are currently four competitions which are branded as Europe-wide, two controlled by Euroleague Basketball , and two by FIBA Europe . Clubs which compete in these competitions also play in their national and/or regional leagues. Clubs usually qualify for these competitions based on their performance in the national or regional leagues in the previous season.
The EuroLeague is Euroleague Basketball's premier competition, and each year involves clubs from 10 countries. It is historically the most prestigious competition in European basketball.
The EuroCup is Euroleague Basketball's secondary competition, and currently made up of 24 teams from around Europe. Clubs from over 30 countries have taken part. The two finalists of the EuroCup qualify for the next season's EuroLeague.
The Basketball Champions League , which began in 2016, is FIBA Europe's highest competition. Initially, FIBA established EuroLeague in 1958 but never trademarketed the name which was later taken over by Euroleague Basketball. The Basketball Champions League involves around 40 teams; to date, clubs from over 20 countries have taken part.
The Europe Cup is FIBA Europe's secondary competition. Up to 32 teams compete, and the teams which did not enter in the Basketball Champions League regular season have the option to drop down into the regular season of the Europe Cup. As of 2019, clubs from over 30 national federations have taken part.
In addition to national leagues in individual countries, there are leagues which include clubs from several countries.
The ABA League, commonly called the Adriatic League, began in 2001, and consists of clubs from the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia). At different times, the league has also included clubs from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Israel. Clubs generally also compete in their own national leagues in the same season, after the conclusion of the ABA League season. The winner of the league qualifies for the next season's EuroLeague.
The VTB United League is made up of mostly Russian clubs, as well as a smaller number of clubs from nearby countries - currently Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan and Poland. It serves as the top division of the Russian national league system. One club from the league qualifies for the next season's EuroLeague, in addition to CSKA Moscow, which holds a EuroLeague license.
Other multi-national leagues in Europe have included the Baltic Basketball League (2004-2018), the Central European Basketball League (2008–2010), and the Balkan International Basketball League (began in 2008).
Each country generally has its own league system, with various divisions which involve promotion and relegation, as well as playoffs following the regular season.
The Spanish Liga ACB is generally considered to be the highest quality national league in Europe, and contributes at least four clubs to the EuroLeague each season. Other leagues among the strongest include Russia's VTB United League, Turkey's BSL, the Greek Basket League, Italy's LBA, and the LNB Pro A in France.
The table below shows the current structure, although FIBA Europe does not recognize the EuroCup as second-tier level,but it's commonly known as on the same par as the Basketball Champions League. Also, FIBA Europe only recognize the Adriatic League and VTB League as sanctioned regional leagues.
|Basketball Champions League||FIBA Europe||32||2016|
|III||FIBA Europe Cup||FIBA Europe||32||2015|
|Adriatic League (ABA)||2001||Adriatic Basketball Association||14||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia & Slovenia|
|VTB United League (VTB)||2008||Russian Basketball Federation||13||Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Poland & Russia|
| Balkan International Basketball League (BIBL)|
|2008||Balkan International Basketball||14||Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Israel|
|ABA League 2 (ABA2)||2017||Adriatic Basketball Association||14||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia & Slovenia|
|Alpe Adria Cup||2015||Participating Basketball Federations||14||Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia & Slovenia|
|Latvian-Estonian Basketball League||2018||Participating Basketball Federations||13||Estonia & Latvia|
|Liga Unike||2020||Participating Basketball Federations||8||Albania & Kosovo|
|BNXT League||2021||Participating Basketball Federations||22||Belgium & Netherlands|
|Czecho-Slovak Basketball Cup||2021||Participating Basketball Federations||12||Czech Republic & Slovakia|
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