By Bugra Uzar/ Buzar@eurohoops.net
Hedo Turkoglu, the president of the Turkish basketball federation, gave an interview to the “Hurriyet” newspaper on the matter, answering to the statement of Fenerbahce’s players.
“It’s unfortunate statement”, said Turkoglu. “Coach Ufuk Sarica and Kerem Tunçeri have to sit down and select a preliminary team for the World Cup Qualifiers. As you know, this has to include 24 players. Next week, Coach Sarica and his staff will announce the rosters for the matches. Those friends made this statement early without consulting with us. That hurts me as president of the federation. We are facing such a thing for the first time. I don’t know who will be invited by Coach Sarica. But this statement came when we are still undecided and that made us really sad. I do not think that when the issue is the national team neither our players nor our clubs will be insensitive. Because there is only one holly jersey and that’s the national team’s jersey. I believe when their names will be announced, those friends (ed. note: Fenerbahce‘s players) will do what needs to be done. We never want anyone to be annoyed because of national teams. We will continue to do our duty. This problem between FIBA and EuroLeague is not only for November. It will be a problem in February, even in June. We need to solve this in some kind of way. I hope everyone understands that basketball is hurt in here and one step has to be taken in order to solve it”.
“FIBA’s aim is to prevent the development of EuroLeague”
The interview was published yesterday and today Fenerbahce‘s board member Ozan Balaban who is responsible for the basketball branch gave his answer, not to Turkoglu directly, but for the whole debate.
“FIBA probably did not believe that EuroLeague would be so successful”, he said to BeinSport. “I do not know because I was not there at the time but as a result, EuroLeague was established as a company and became very successful. With their incomes, quality teams and fans, EuroLeague is the number one competition of Europe. Eleven teams, including us, have the 75% of the EuroLeague shares, so we are one side, we are a company, we aim to increase our income. FIBA has opened a legal case against EuroLeague for being a private league in Europe. We won that legal case against FIBA. When FIBA could not get the control of the EuroLeague, they intervened by trying to ban the players first, then threatening the national teams and finally by changing the games schedule. This is not a national issue. To this day, Fenerbahce is the team that sent the most athletes to both the national team and the Olympic team. Today, there are five players in the women’s basketball national team from Fenerbahce. But we have 11 players in our men’s team who are called in their national teams. It is very difficult to question the national spirit of the management and of the supporters of Fenerbahçe Sports Club. There have been too many comments about our players not leaving our club for the national team. It’s too hard for them too. We have been in talks with President Hedo Turkoglu and Omer Onan about this during the last ten days. Nobody is pleased with this situation”.
The issues according to Balaban are many: “Our young players can go to NBA and NCAA easily. FIBA has no sanctions against them. FIBA gives no protection to the clubs which produce young players. This is our first concern. Our second problem is that they can’t bring NBA players to national teams. Only EuroLeague players are being called. How can they call eleven of our players who have a game on the same day with the national team and not one from the NBA? Third, the players can get injured when they are playing for their national team. Dixon and Kalinic‘s injuries continue for months. FIBA still wants documents from us for their condition and nothing related to this issue is being done. We try to do our best, but if there is no authority protecting us, we have to say “stop”. The case is not just a simple calendar case. FIBA’s aim is to prevent the development of EuroLeague. We are saying that one month has to be free and national teams can play their games during that month and we can not even come to the negotiation stage. FIBA is saying only this for years: ‘Let’s just talk about the calendar, we’ll discuss other issues later.’ ”