With the new series of articles called “EFA Explained”, EuroLeague Players Association (ELPA) intends to notify and educate wider audience on the intricacies of the EuroLeague Framework Agreement (EFA). In each posted article, ELPA will explain a specific topic within the agreement and provide practical examples of the rules and regulations that determine the relationship between the players, the EuroLeague and its clubs.
The current EFA is set to expire at the end of the 2023/24 season, however, the initial steps to negotiate a new agreement have already been made between the ELPA, EuroLeague Basketball and the clubs.
For any further questions regarding the EFA, please contact ELPA at email@example.com.
EFA Explained: In-Season Working Conditions for Players
One of the primary objectives of the EuroLeague Framework Agreement (EFA) is optimizing player health and performance throughout the rigorous professional season. Both ELPA and the EuroLeague care deeply about the health of the players, and recognize that their physical and mental fitness is an essential component of the intensely competitive EuroLeague atmos- phere. Therefore, ELPA is actively engaged in studying the latest performance and recovery trends through its Perform- ance Advisory Board, which includes experts from different sports fields such as strength & conditioning, nutrition, sports psychology, traumatology and data science.
To that end, the EFA takes a number of steps to ensure player safety by regulating various aspects of the in-season work en- vironment, including practice duration, rest and recovery, travel, and time off. This article examines several key regula- tions instituted by the EFA to mitigate injury risk and ensure players are well-prepared to play at an elite level.
Practice duration and frequency:
During the competition season, each practice is limited to three hours in total, including stretching, weight training, and warmup/cooldown activities. This rule is an important meas- ure to help limit the amount of physical strain on the players’ bodies between games, and to limit overuse injuries. Of course, players are free to engage in additional individual workouts if they so choose.
Practice frequency is also an important factor. During the sea- son, teams are generally limited to one practice per day. How- ever, if a team has fewer than two official games in a given week, they are allowed to hold a double-practice day once during that week. However, even under these rare circumstances, the sec- ond practice of the day must be non-contact, to reduce injury risk. Furthermore, both practices combined must last no longer than five hours for the day.
The limitations on practice duration and frequency are particu- larly important, because rest and recovery time is an essential component to optimize performance. To that end, the EFA also mandates minimum rest intervals between high-exertion ac- tivities. After every regular season game, practices and other team activities (excluding medical treatments and team travel) may not commence until noon the next day. This helps to en- sure adequate muscle recovery and cognitive recharging, espe- cially after late night games.
Travel logistics are also optimized for player welfare, per EFA rules. When traveling by air, Clubs are required to book priority check-in, fast lane security and priority boarding. If required, the home Club has to assist the visiting Club to ensure that these amenities are available to their players. According to availability, Clubs have to book exit row seating for up to 12 players, in order to maximize legroom. Players cannot be required to carry any add- itional team equipment or team luggage during travel. The pri- ority is to maximize rest and minimize fatigue and soreness upon arrival.
Prior to away games, players are provided a light meal (fruit, en- ergy bars, electrolyte drinks/water).
If the team is traveling immediately after the game, players must first be provided a hot meal. If a hot meal is not available, players must be provided time off before travel (players may use this time to get dinner, if they choose).
Per the EFA, team hotels are a minimum of four-star quality. Players are guaranteed single occupancy rooms, and the hotel must have extra-long beds available upon request. These regu- lations help players achieve optimal sleep while traveling. Hotels must also contain fitness facilities for personal workouts and recovery sessions.
The EFA guarantees off days for players during the competition season. An “off day” is a full day during which the player is not required to participate in Club activities, including:
- Video sessions
- Team or individual meetings
At least four full days of f per month are required, with only physiotherapy, medical treatments, and travel permitted on such days. Media and commercial appearances are only permit- ted on one of these four monthly days off, to preserve personal time. These off days are essential to minimize the effects of physical and mental fatigue throughout the season.
In addition to the standard four off days per month, players are also entitled to receive additional time off for the birth of a child, or in the event of a death within the players family. In ei- ther circumstance, the player is entitled to a minimum three full days off, not including travel.
These standards aim to provide EuroLeague players with in- season working conditions that limit injury risk, fatigue, and burnout over long seasons. With compact game schedules and travel demands, formal regulations offer protection for players, and guidelines for clubs. However, continued research into best practices for elite basketball players is necessary as innovation in sports medicine continues to advance. The EFA represents significant progress, but should not forestall further evidence- based reforms to safeguard players’ health and optimize their performance during competition.
 “Official games” means all competitive games played by the team, includ- ing EuroLeague, domestic league, playoffs, tournaments, etc. For example, if a Club has one EuroLeague game and one domestic league game during a week, they will not be allowed to hold a double-practice day during that week.
 However, due to the fact that schedules become more complex and demanding later in the season, this rule does not apply after postseason games, such as playoffs, Final Four, Cup, etc.
 If a player intends to take birth leave, they are required to give the Club 14 days notice if possible.
Written by: Rob Zintl