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[ Dec 16, 2023 ]

Joint press release on the racial incident against referee Joseph Bissang

The EuroLeague Head Coaches Board, the EuroLeague Players' Association and the Union of Euroleague Basketball Officials are condemning the racial slur that has been registered by a fan sitting courtside at the game between Olympiacos and Valencia, in hopes that this incident can help EuroLeague fans turn their backs on such behaviours. 

We have witnessed, especially in recent years, a rise in verbal and non-verbal incidents towards players, coaches and referees. Insulting chants have become accepted and lines are regularly crossed. Fans are making the EuroLeague special and their devotion is more than appreciated. We know our jobs are under the loupe and positive criticism is always welcomed, but there must be clear boundaries to fans' behaviour.

That applies even more to fans sitting courtside, having direct access to players, coaches and referees. We want to remind that each courtside seat holder has a set of rules he needs to obey. Those rules are clearly stated in the terms and conditions when they purchase the tickets. We are not against fans showing passion, love and devotion, but we are definitely against those fans who become active in the game itself. 

The fast reaction of Olympiacos, with the immediate lifetime ban of the fan who used a racial slur towards referee Joseph Bissang should be a benchmark from now on. For the past years, we have witnessed trends of disrespect, especially against the referees, which is unacceptable. Such behaviour has unfortunately spread to multiple arenas and we want to highlight our obligation as role models to our kids and future generations of coaches, players and referees. Coaches, players and referees stand together: racism has no place in EuroLeague basketball!

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