7 teams, almost no foreigners, and the dream of a place in the Euroleague

the EuroLeague It looks like the basketball team will have a new member sooner rather than later. It is only a group of The United Arab Emiratesa country with little tradition in the sport and hardly any teams of great importance within it Asia. Access based on a check book still needs to be authenticated.

Currently, the project has already been given the green light after the clubs approved the economic framework for the entry of a team from the Gulf country, specifically from DubaiHe also confirmed Spanish. However, the incorporation process is not completely final, as the final decision will be made in a few months, in the first quarter of 2024.

A relatively surprising decision, although the money is hidden behind it, to add the Emirates Club. Basketball is not a tradition there, and as a result, they have a league that is hardly competitive. Only seven teams have qualified, and there are only a few foreign players, the majority of whom are local players.

[La Euroliga da luz verde a la incorporación de un equipo de Dubái en la competición de baloncesto]

However, they found themselves with a unique opportunity to move to the EuroLeague, the best possible offer in Europe. A maneuver by the Middle East to continue its expansion into sports, they have extended their tentacles towards almost any method, it does not matter if it is football, basketball, Formula 1 or tennis. It is likely to catch anyone’s attention and they will not miss the chance to ride this train.

Moreover, the rumors that place Dubai in the Europa League are not new. A little over a year ago, Spanish Emirates Airlines previously confirmed its intention to transfer the fourth final of the competition to its country, as Emirates Airlines is prepared to pay up to 60 million euros per season to sponsor it in exchange for winning the final four matches of the tournament.

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Unstable league

Basketball, of course, is not the strongest sport in the UAE. Football, cricket, horse racing and tennis are some of the most popular games within its borders. Its practices are more associated with Western populations who have moved to thriving cities like Dubai.

Although it does not have a large base to operate from, the UAE does have a league. A tournament made up of seven teams, many of which are part of more powerful structures and where football clubs dominate.

Al-Nasr lineup before a local league match.

AL-Nasser club

The ducks, Pterygium, AL-Nasser club, Sharjah, Unit, Al-Wasl And youths Al-Ahly These are the seven teams that make up the UAE League. A few of them consist mostly of local players, as the competition is unattractive and does not attract the greatest foreign talent.

They are all minorities, because they are part of other, more powerful blocs. Indeed victory that Cristiano Ronaldoor Al-Ahly with Edward Mendy also Roberto Firmino In their ranks, they mainly promote their football clubs.

In effect, this means that although player transfers have been made in the Football League, they have not yet become effective in the Basketball League. There are barely twelve foreigners in the tournament and only three repeat from the previous season. That is, they are unable to give them continuity.

Daniel Lewis (youths), Nicholas Meinrath (youths), Devon Scott (Sharjah), Marcus Jones (Sharjah), Marvell Harris (Victory), Nikola Dragovic (Victory), Steadmon lemon (Al-Wasl), Nicholas West (Al-Wasl), Donte Jamar (Al-Bataeh) Devante Foster (Al-Bataeh) Pape Diop (Al Dhafra) and Gordon (The Unit) are the twelve foreigners who are part of the League.

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Many of them are Americans. Naturally, since the United States is the superpower of this sport worldwide and its players belong to practically any league, no one is immune to its presence. There are some exceptions, such as Pape Diop, who holds Senegalese citizenship.

UAE Basketball League match with no flow of people.


Unlike football, the pavilions where basketball is played hardly offer novelty, as they look more like multi-purpose pavilions. In addition, they experience a large crowd flow to their stands, which does not happen in other sports such as cricket, horse or camel racing.

All this is due to the low level of their teams. The lack of competitiveness and the format in which almost everyone wins the award is largely to blame. In fact, of the seven clubs playing, six of them qualify for the playoffs. he The first and second go to the direct semi-finals, and the third to sixth play to the quarter-finals, which means that almost no one is eliminated, which does not encourage the effort of the participants.

[Dubái quiere un equipo en la Euroliga y ser sede de la Final Four: lluvia de millones en el baloncesto]

Future plan

Dubai is probably the most prosperous city in the UAE and is the city with the largest number of clubs in the country’s basketball league. This means that it has been chosen to take one of its clubs to the highest level of European basketball.

It still has to be approved, because it has only been ratified in the economic framework by the clubs. However, there is already a plan in place for the Dubai team to move to the Euroleague in a few years. The action called for changing the course of one of those groups.

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Lance from a UAE Basketball League match.


Due to the lack of standard within the country, the most feasible option is for the selected team to join the Adriatic League. Clubs that are part of the former Soviet republics play there daily, as do similar clubs Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, the black Mountain, Slovenia also North Macedonia.

A measure aimed at ensuring that the club arriving from Dubai has a certain standard when it comes to facing Euroleague matches. We must add to that the flashy signings they are making, because once they hit the checkbook they will have few competitors in Europe.

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