French Federation releases statement on Thomas Heurtel signing a deal with Zenit

Prior to EuroBasket 2022, Thomas Heurtel agreed to not sign a deal with a Russian or Belarusian team in order to be part of the EuroBasket selection. Prior to this, there was speculation Heurtel had a deal in place with Zenit St. Petersburg.

The French Federation was not previously informed of contacts nor contract negotiations between the veteran point guard and the team based in Saint Petersburg, as stated in the press release.

Potentially joining a team in Russia or Belarus would result in being excluded from the options for the summer international fixtures. That was the case for Livio Jean-Charles and Louis Labeyrie, who were ruled out of EuroBasket and World Cup Qualifiers.

FFBB supporting the sanctions and measures against Russia and Belarus is directly connected to the players and coaches forbidden to join teams of those countries, per the decision announced earlier in the summer.

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Per the statement:

The French Basketball Federation has learned through Twitter that the Zenit Saint Petersburg club in Russia has announced the signing of Thomas Heurtel, for a one-year contract with an optional additional year.

Although the FFBB was informed that Thomas Heurtel had contacts with foreign clubs, including Russian ones, at no time was it reported that a contract with a Russian club had been or was being signed.

The player had signed the affidavit at the start of the French team’s training camp at the end of July, indicating that he was not committed and that he did not intend to sign for a Russian or Belarusian club.

If Thomas Heurtel were to play for Zenit, this commitment would not be respected and the point guard would no longer be respecting the selection criteria for upcoming international events, including the 2024 Olympic Games, according to the decision made by the Federal Office on 28 July.

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