New club basketball championship to debut in 2010

GENEVA -- A world championship for basketball clubs will be launched in 2010.

World governing body FIBA said Monday that its first annual club championship will be played in October 2010, with $1 million offered to the winner.

The inaugural tournament will feature eight teams, comprising the five FIBA continental champions -- from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania -- the runner-up from the Americas and Europe plus a team invited by the host city.

It will not include an NBA team.

"There have been some talks with the NBA," FIBA spokesman Marcos Beltra said. "We will organize the first World Club Championship and then study the situation and in the second one invite the NBA champion."

The Chinese cities of Chengdu and Nanjing have offered to host the five-day, 10-game tournament.

Beltra said the tournament revives the global club format which lapsed when the McDonald's Championship ended after nine editions from 1987-99. That tournament pitted the continental champions against each other and an invited NBA team.

Nine different NBA teams each won the McDonald's title once. Tournament MVPs included NBA stars Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.

FIBA's decision-making executive board also gave Turkey until next May to make progress in the delayed construction of arenas for the World Championship for national teams that the country is scheduled to host in August and September 2010.

Beltra said Turkey was given a second chance based on assurances made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.