The case of Samet Yigitoglu and Besiktas changes transfers of young prospects

2022-05-26T16:23:32+00:00 2022-05-27T10:27:30+00:00.

Aris Barkas

26/May/22 16:23

The Turkish prospect who competed in the final of the Next Generation tournament in Belgrade and the fight of Besiktas to keep him have changed the whole process of international minor players transfers

By Eurohoops team/

Samet Yigitoglu was a member of Vassilis Spanoulis’ team in the Belgrade Next Generation tournament, however, his name had already made splashes in the world of international transfers.

Yigitoglu and his Besiktas teammate Demir Dogan are the subjects of a decision that is likely to be a landmark case for European basketball, such as the Bosman case of football. After the appeal filed by Turkish sports lawyer Emin Ozkurt on behalf of Besiktas, the recent transfer of the two young players to MZT Skopje of Northern Macedonia was annulled on the 10th of May 2022 and they have to return to Besiktas.

The international transfer of minor players in European basketball has long been used by agents as a vehicle to circumvent FIBA rules.

In the Samet Yigitoglu & Demir Dogan case, the two minor players of Besiktas were transferred to MZT Skopje under the guidance of their agents without their Turkish club getting any kind of compensation.

In the decision rendered by the FIBA Appeals Panel, it was stated that the players were subject to an international transfer contrary to the FIBA rules and that the Letters of Clearance authorizing the transfer by FIBA did not comply with the conditions in the FIBA regulations.

This precedent decision will have an impact on the transfer of minor basketball players in general. FIBA will have to be more careful when allowing transfers of minors by issuing a Letter of Clearance and it will be strictly inspected whether the conditions in the regulations of FIBA are fulfilled.

Emin Ozkurt, the lawyer who won the case on behalf of Besiktas, explains what this decision means: “First of all, we all must realize that we are talking about kids playing basketball. We are not talking about business or professional basketball. There is more to life than basketball, and a child’s life and happiness are worth more than any sum of money. 

Secondly, we think that the FIBA Appeals Panel’s Decision dated 10 May 2022 is very significant and should be a turning point in the international transfers of minors in basketball. FIBA needs to apply the rules on the protection of minors in a strict, rigorous, and consistent manner.

The issue of international transfer of minor players is taken very seriously in football and it is very hard for me to see the lack of action by FIBA to protect these minors. As is known, Europe’s biggest football clubs are subject to severe sanctions, including heavy fines and years of transfer bans for any irregularities done while transferring minors. On the other hand, FIBA ​​and European Basketball have remained silent about such abuses of minors, or have overtaken it with very mild sanctions. To me, this is unacceptable and has to be changed and our legal win can open this path in European Basketball.

Finally, although we have taken decisions about Samet Yigitoglu and Demir Dogan that protect the interests of the client club, we see that there are still people trying to get results by circumventing the law in order to realize the international transfer of these players. I have a few words for them: it should be seen that these new letter of clearance demands made to FIBA ​​are, to say the least, an attempt to circumvent the law and take advantage of the gaps in the legislation to lead these young people to a path contrary to their own benefits. We believe that FIBA ​​will not allow this for the reasons listed below and within the framework of the FIBA Appeals Panel’s Decisions dated 10 May 2022.

Thus, it will be possible to prevent agents from exploiting the enthusiasm and dreams of minor players with commercial concerns. Considering that agent companies specifically target minor players for commercial gain, it becomes clear how important these decisions are. When the conditions in the regulation are strictly enforced, the reliability of basketball will also increase as such exploitations will decrease”.