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SCG - Big changes on the way for Serbia & Montenegro

BELGRADE (KSSCG) - The separation of Serbia & Montenegro into two countries will see the formation of two domestic basketball leagues as well as two national teams, it has been confirmed.

The result of this week's Montenegrin referendum ensured the states would become separate entities politically, with 55.5% of the population voting in favour of a split from Serbia. As far as basketball is concerned, the current domestic season - which is at the semi-final stage - will be the last to involve sides from both states.

Internationally, it was already agreed that Serbia & Montenegro would travel to this summer's FIBA World Championship to defend the title they retained as part of the former Yugoslavia four years ago before splitting into two national teams.

"We were thinking earlier about this day, so we are prepared for the new situation," said basketball association (KSSCG) president Goran Knezevic. "Our experts are already working on an official suggestion as to what our basketball association will look like from now on. We'll transform the whole organisation in Serbia, and I hope it will be during this summer."

The president of Montenegrin basketball (KSCG), Veselin Barovic, added the newly-formed country's clubs will form their own league at the end of this year's Superleague, in which powerhouse Buducnost are Montenegro's only representatives in the play-offs.

"There won't be a need for a joint league with Serbia, as we have something like that in our main regional competition, the Adriatic League, where clubs from other former Yugoslav republics are also taking part.

"As for the FIBA World Championship in Japan, we agreed, like gentlemen, that Serbia & Montenegro, together, will represent us there.

"After that, two national teams will be created."

On the subject of international basketball, KSSCG director Predrag Bojic added: "For the FIBA World Championship in Japan we've be given a wild card as Serbia & Montenegro and, as Serbia & Montenegro, we'll participate there.

"All of our other teams, such as youth selection, will remain with that name during summer, including our women's national team in qualification for the European championship.

"After that, we'll have a new story, whose subject will be Serbia. That means if our ladies qualify for final tournament of European Championship, they'll represent just Serbia there."

In basketball terms, the change will be the second in less than five years for two of the states that competed under the flag of Yugoslavia when winning the last two FIBA World Championships in Indianapolis four years ago and Athens in 1998.

By PA Sport