Basketball: international Thomas Heurtel joins Zenit Saint-Petersburg and closes the doors of the France team

The playmaker, who had just won a silver medal with the Blues at the Euro, had signed, like all the members of the French teams, a charter attesting that he would not engage with a Russian or Belarusian team as long as the conflict with Ukraine would last, under penalty of no longer being selected for the France team.

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It’s an unlikely turnaround. The Zenit Saint-Petersburg basketball club announced on Wednesday, September 21, the signing of Frenchman Thomas Heurtel, free since the end of his contract with Real Madrid, for two seasons. A commitment which, indirectly, sends him out of the France team for the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games.

Indeed, at the beginning of August, the French Basketball Federation had clarified its position vis-à-vis the sanctions against Russia and Belarus, in the context of the war in Ukraine. The FFBB had announced that the French players and technicians under contract with a Russian or Belarusian club could not be selected for the France team “during the conflict“.

The authority had also asked the members of the male and female selections to sign a charter attesting that they will not engage with training from these two countries. A commitment broken by Heurtel by joining the Russian club, just a few days after playing in the Eurobasket final with the Blues.

The FFBB made it clear that in the event of a violation of the document, the person in questionwould then no longer meet the selection criteria for the next international events, including the 2024 Olympic Games“.

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