A decision by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Europe to expel eight countries from EuroBasket 2017 has been supported by a senior Olympic official who claimed it needed to be done to help protect the integrity of sport.
The governing body has sent letters to 14 countries warning them about their association with the unsanctioned Euroleague - currently the continent's premier club competition.
FIBA Europe's Board decided in March that any Federation that backed the Euroleague - run by Euroleague Commercial Assets (ECA) - would automatically lose the right to participate in senior men's national team competitions.
Out of the 14 countries to fall into this bracket eight - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia and Spain - have leagues or clubs which have entered into an agreement with the ECA, it has now been confirmed.
Patrick Hickey, President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), has backed the tough approach because he warned it was needed to stop private companies trying to take over sport.
"I have been flagging up the dangers for a while now about these profit-making organisations trying to hijack sport," he told insidethegames.
"If we don't kill it now then it will get out of control.
"If we continue to ignore the situation then the next thing we will have are private organisations we have no control over trying to set up an alternative to the Olympic Games."
The eight countries thrown out of EuroBasket have been given until tomorrow to provide proof that the agreements are not in place or they will not be implemented.
The remaining six countries in the 14, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Turkey, have received letters drawing their attention to "recent reports and public statements" which suggest that one or more of their clubs may have entered into an agreement with ECA.
They have been invited to submit their position in order to avoid a possible ban, with qualifying for EuroBasket 2017 due to begin in August.
Spain, as the defending champions and Olympic silver medallists, will be the biggest absentees from the competition but the disqualification of so many major countries would surely devalue the tournament.
Another interesting factor is that Israel and Turkey are two of the planned host countries for the 2017 EuroBasket, along with Finland and Romania.
The Spanish and Lithuania, meanwhile, have already booked their place at Rio 2016 but could face further bad news as FIBA's Executive Committee is due to meet on Saturday and Sunday (April 23 and 24) to "discuss the possibility of taking decisions in relation to worldwide events, e.g. the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments and the Olympic Games; FIBA Basketball World Cup".
Serbia, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Croatia are all hoping to reach Rio 2016 as they are due to play in the Olympic qualification tournaments in July.
In a further complexity two of the tournaments are due to be played in Serbia and Italy, with reports suggesting that Germany have been asked to step in as a potential replacement host for one of the events.
The Euroleague row began in 2000 when Europe’s top clubs broke away from FIBA to form a new club tournament.
FIBA, under secretary general Patrick Baumann, an IOC colleague of Hickey's, has attempted to wrestle back control and launched a new Champions League last month.
"FIBA are absolutely correct in the action that they have taken and we will back them to the hilt," Hickey, who is also President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, told insidethegames.
"I want to fully endorse the actions of Patrick Baumann"