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Cologne’s EuroLeague Final Four heads behind closed doors

Euroleague Basketball has confirmed that the Final Four stage of this season’s EuroLeague competition in Cologne will be held without fans due to ongoing restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cologne’s Lanxess Arena will host the event from May 28-30 and Euroleague Basketball has been working on several scenarios to allow as many fans in as possible. Ultimately, the decision has been taken to stage the event behind closed doors, with attendance to be restricted to teams, working staff and selected media.

The decision has been made in accordance with the recommendations of the German national and local authorities. Euroleague Basketball will announce during the coming weeks a series of innovative projects to provide fans with exclusive behind-the-scenes content from the Final Four.

Several clubs competing in the EuroLeague this season have been able to welcome fans to their home arenas but this will not be the case for the Final Four in Germany.

In September, Lanxess Arena secured hosting rights to the 2021 Final Four. Euroleague Basketball was originally due to stage the 2020 edition of its showpiece event in the city, only for the organisation to decide to cancel its 2019-20 competitions back in May due to the impact of COVID-19.

Euroleague Basketball last month partnered with US sports and entertainment consulting firm Elevate Sports Ventures, with the agreement designed to support the EuroLeague through global strategy, ticketing, fan and premium hospitality experience, and event management.

It is unclear how the latest announcement will impact Elevate’s partnership with Euroleague Basketball, with the agreement having also included plans for a comprehensive strategy for in-arena and city-wide fan and premium experiences celebrating the Final Four.

Euroleague Basketball president and chief executive Jordi Bertomeu said following the signing of the Elevate deal that he was confident “some percentage of fans” would be allowed but it has now been confirmed that the tournament will be played behind closed doors.

Image: Euroleague Basketball