The general manager of AS Monaco Basket answered our questions about the consequences of the war in Ukraine on the club’s future, while restating Roca Team’s EuroLeague ambitions.

Do you understand the decision by EuroLeague officials to suspend Russian clubs from the competition?

There was no alternative in the current circumstances. The whole sports community has done the same thing.

What are the direct consequences for the Roca Team? The league table could be completely shaken up…

We sincerely believe the victory percentage formula would have been a better solution, in keeping with the principles of fair play. Unfortunately, the EuroLeague shareholders’ executive board voted to cancel all regular season fixtures involving Russian teams.

I would like to stress that we have no Russian capital, shareholders, board members, sponsors, or investors

Oleksiy Yefimov

We had four wins and only one loss against Russian clubs, so this decision will hurt our chances for a play-off spot. But we are still in contention (currently in 5th place – ed.) and we will do everything to prove on court that we deserve to be one of the top eight teams in the final rankings.

Might the new president of the club, Aleksej Fedoricsev, be affected by these measures?

There is no risk of Mr. Fedoricsev or any other shareholder of the club being threatened in any way. To avoid any speculation on the matter, we immediately contacted Mr. Mickael Contreras, the administrative and legal director of the Ligue National de Basket (LNB – French basketball league). If anyone wants to make sure no shadows are cast over the Roca Team project, it’s me. Our books have always been open to the NBL and the DNCCG (financial authorities – ed.). In the present circumstances, we are prepared to take all necessary steps to avoid any speculation or misunderstanding.

SEE ALSO: War in Ukraine. How are the Monegasque clubs reacting?

I would also like to stress that we have no Russian capital, shareholders, board members, sponsors, or investors. 33% of the club belongs to the Monegasque government and it has been officially declared that the Principality will follow, respect and support sanctions and international commitments (freezing of funds for Russian citizens or companies listed in the EU directives – ed.).

How do you rate the team’s performance in the EuroLeague so far?

I may be mistaken, but I don’t think there has ever been another newcomer to the EuroLeague who became a playoff contender in their first year before. I think we have surprised the entire basketball community with the level of our game and the consistency we are showing in this second half of the regular season.

I am sure that the EuroLeague management has already realised how beneficial Monaco’s participation is for the organisation as a whole

Oleksiy Yefimov

After a rocky start, we made a very difficult decision to part with the head coach, Zvezdan Mitrovic. Statistically, in more than 80% of cases, things do not improve when a team changes coaches during the season. So, for me, any dismissal is first and foremost an appointment. It was crucial to bring in someone who can be trusted to lead the team. And Sasa Obradovic was that someone. He is doing a great job, as reflected by the results on court.

Is the goal still a place in the Top 8, and therefore the playoffs, so you can be in the competition again next year?

Of course, this has been our main focus since day one. I am sure that the EuroLeague management has already realised how beneficial Monaco’s participation is for the organisation as a whole. We provide enormous added value to the competition, as Monaco is already an internationally renowned brand.

SEE ALSO: Oleksiy Yefimov, the inspired Roca Team architect

To prove the point, there was a TV deal in Monaco to broadcast Roca Team games for free on Monaco Info, while for most of the season there was no EuroLeague TV deal in France. And now there IS one, the broadcaster has decided to replace the ASVEL matches with Monaco’s. The same is true for the TV ratings when our matches are broadcast in Europe. We are becoming more and more well known, and we are attracting more and more attention.