The die is cast. After a process that began in the fall of 2019 with exploratory talks between the leagues, followed by numerous stakeholder and working group meetings led by Hypercube Business Innovation, the professional basketball leagues from both countries have decided that the BeNeLeague will start next season, 2021-2022.
On the Belgian side, 9 out of 10 clubs agreed with the proposal, 1 club abstained. On the Dutch side, all 12 clubs agreed with the proposal.
The decision is made after a period of 5 months during which working groups have outlined the BeNeLeague contours. Both in the field of competition, as well as on a regulatory and structural level, the broad outlines were laid down and approved by the clubs. On a commercial level, the partnership structure was defined. The competition formula was also defined.
The season starts with two national competitions, in which all teams play an equal number of games. The best five from each country come together in a Golden Group. The Belgian clubs play both at home and away against the Dutch clubs. The teams that are not in the top 5 come together in the Silver Group and also play 10 games.
The playoffs also consist of a national part. The two best Belgian clubs qualify for the semifinals of the Belgian playoffs. The other three Belgian teams from the Golden Group compete with the best Belgian team from the Silver Group for a place in the play-off semifinals. This playoff series will result in a national champion.
The Silver Group clubs that do not qualify for the national playoffs will start with the BeNeLeague playoffs. In each round the losing teams of the national playoffs will enter. The winners of these series compete against the national champions at home and away. After that, the two remaining clubs compete for the BeNeLeague title in a home and an away matchup.
This competition formula can be applied flexibly if there are a minimum of 16 and a maximum of 24 clubs participating in the competition.
An interim board with 2 representatives from both leagues will now be put together to manage the effective operational start-up of the project.
Wim Van de Keere, Pro Basketball League General Manager:
"This is an important step in the development of basketball at the highest level in Belgium and the Netherlands. In the coming months we will make every effort to further implement this ambitious project on the way to the start of the 21-22 season. "
Arthur Goethals, Pro Basketball League President:
"We are writing sports history in the Low Countries by creating a high quality cross-border league with a potential market of 28.5 million inhabitants. This will undoubtedly lead to the growth of the basketball sport and our clubs in both countries. This new competition should also create an increased sportive attractiveness, enticing national talents to stay in it. I would like to thank all the people who have contributed so far within the working groups for all the efforts made.”