SuproLeague (C1) is the main European competition for men's clubs organized by FIBA on behalf of the Standing Conference of National Basketball Federations of Europe. It is a sequel of Euroleague (former Champions Cup and European League), a tournament originally created for domestic League champions that's been going on ever since 1958. SuproLeague celebrated its last edition in 2000-01 season; in 2001 SuproLeague was replaced as the main European competition by ULEB's Euroleague, organized by this independent organism from the year before.
In order to understand the origin and brief existence of SuproLeague, it is necessary to go back in time to the summer of 2000 when, due to some main discrepancies (basically of economic nature) between ULEB (European Basketball Leagues Union) and FIBA, a radical schism took place in European basketball. Because of this far-reaching division, during 2000-01 season two top competitions ran parallel in the Continent: on the one hand, FIBA still organized the "official" tournament known as SuproLeague (former Euroleague); on the other hand, ULEB created an alternative tournament called Euroleague, in which some of the best European teams decided to participate, expecting a better management of their revenues (not surprisingly, these teams were mostly from countries where clubs associations have more power than national federations, like Spain). Originally, FIBA and ULEB reached an agreement to merge these two competitions, SuproLeague and Euroleague, in a single tournament known as Euroleague from season 2001-02 on. FIBA would be responsible for its organization, whereas ULEB would supervise other economic aspects. However, negociations failed in the end and FIBA was forced to give up SuproLeague, thus leaving ULEB's Euroleague as the sole top-tier European competition, gathering all the best teams in the Continent.
Among the important agreements reached in the First Conference of Europe and Mediterranean Basin Nations, held in Munich in 1957, there was an outstanding one: the organization of a Coupe d'Europe des Clubs Champions (European Cup of Champion Clubs), originally proposed by the French newspaper L'Equipe. After considering this proposal, FIBA, together with the Czechoslovakian Basketball Federation, presented their project in the European Championship of Nations, taking place in Sofia in June 1957. It wasn't too much later (December 1957 in Gauting, Germany) when the green light was finally given to the first Champions Cup in Europe. Originally, only six teams were to participate in this seminal tournament, but they ended up being twenty-three, divided in four geographical groups (in order to shorten the competition and reduce travelling costs). The first match in the history of Champions Cup took place in February 22, 1958, in Brussels, where Royal Anderlecht (from Belgium) defeated Etzella Ettelbruck (Luxembourg) with a final score of 82-43.
During the period when SL was still called Champions Cup (from its inception in 1958 to 1990-91 season), each participating country was entitled to register a single team—the champion in the domestic League—and the competition format was quite straightforward: different knock-out rounds leading to a final game. After its name changed (European League from 1991-92, Euroleague from 1996-97, and SuproLeague during 2000-01 season), however, some major modifications were introduced. During its last editions, a variable number of teams belonging to the same federation could participate in SL (with a maximum of 4), depending on its classification in the FIBA Ranking, although some of the most powerful European clubs received a "wild card."
• Official FIBA scores and statistics extended and corrected with multilingual edition. Additional information sources: basketball magazines Rebote (1960) and Gigantes (1985-) and newspapers ABC (1902-), El Mundo Deportivo (1941-), Marca (1942-) and As (1967-). From 1985 on, when I started collecting my first statistics on paper, then with an Olivetti typewriter and finally using WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS in an IBM computer (sweet old days...), scores and statistics are registered "on real time."