The shareholders of Ljubljana’s Olimpija and Zagreb’s Cedevita confirmed on Monday what is the first merger of professional basketball clubs from two countries. While Cedevita Olimpija will be seated in Ljubljana, its first head coach will be Croatian expert Slaven Rimac.
The assembly meeting at Ljubljana’s Stožice arena saw Tomaž Berločnik, the president of Petrol Olimpija so far, become Cedevita Olimpija’s first president. In two and a half years he will be succeeded by Emil Tedeschi, Cedevita Zagreb president and CEO of Croatian multinational Atlantic Grupa.
The team, which hopes to attract and develop Slovenian star players as well as enlist international talent, will be led by 44-year-old Rimac.
Rimac led Cedevita Zagreb to the regional ABA League semi-final, the final of the Croatian championship and the title of Croatian cup winner in the past season. He won the ABA League with Zagreb’s other club, Cibona, as head coach in 2014.
On the players’ front it has been confirmed that the team will also feature 27-year-old small forward Edo Murić, who was among those who won the European Champions title for Slovenia in 2017. Murić last played for Cedevita Zagreb.
Media reports indicated last month that Cedevita wanted to move its basketball project to Ljubljana due to a lack of support from the local community. The investment in the new club by Atlantic Grupa, the owner of Cedevita, is reported to stand at EUR 2.5 million.
Tedeschi and Berločnik announced in June that Cedevita Olimpija would play in the next season in the ABA League and the FIBA Europe Cup. The budget of the new club will be higher than that of the two clubs combined, which unofficially this year stands at EUR 1.5 million for Petrol Olimpija and EUR 2.5 million for Cedevita.