By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Lenovo Tenerife arrived on Monday to Nizhny Novgorod for the upcoming Basketball Champions League, but Giorgi Shermadini finally entered Russia on Tuesday. The Georgian big man was forced to stay in the local airport for one night due to visa issues.
His team, Brazilian Marcelinho Huertas, protested on his social media about the treatment of his teammate on Tuesday morning. “It is unacceptable that they have denied entry to the best player on the team and that time continues to pass without solving the problem”, he wrote on his Instagram account.
However, a few hours later after the intervention of FIBA, the Basketball Champions League management, and local organizers, the issue was settled and Shermadini joined his teammates.
Shermadini is arguably the top center of the Basketball Champions League and a candidate for the MVP trophy.
The club issued a press release on the matter explaining the following: “The organization had initially indicated to the club that Serbian, Montenegrin and Georgian players did not need a visa to enter the country; and last night they did not allow his access.
From that moment, the club, through the Basketball Champions League, initiated the pertinent steps to resolve the problem. The coincidence with a public holiday in Nizhny Novgorod delayed the solution, forcing the player to spend the night at the Airport.
Once the situation was resolved, Gio joined the team in the hotel this afternoon. The club wants to express its full support for the player.
This unexpected setback means that Shermadini has not been able to rest in the most appropriate conditions and has not been able to carry out any activity with his teammates in preparation for an event as important as the Final Eight of the Basketball Champions League.
The club trusts that the incident that occurred will not affect his contribution, nor that of the rest of the team in such a significant competition”.