Home National Teams World Championship 2010 The scandalous case of Emir Preldzic

The scandalous case of Emir Preldzic

Slovenian (or is he Bosniac? Turk? Janissary? Albanian?) international star of Fenerbahce Ulker, Emir Preldzic, is again in the spotlight of international competitions after he expressed his wish to now play for the Turkish National Team, after he had played for Slovenia youth NT and last year trying to play for Bosnia & Herzegovina senior NT.

The Bosnian born player has played for Slovenia U20 NT in both 2006 and 2007, being one of the most promising players of his generation in Slovenia. But after he made the jump to Euroleague side Fenerbahce Ulker something changed. After he was called to Slovenia NT summer camp before Eurobasket 2009 in Poland he refused to show up and instead gave an ultimatum to Slovenian Basketball Federation to allow him to play for Bosnia & Herzegovina NT instead.

Of course Slovenian Basketball Federation refused to allow him to do so, as that would be against FIBA rules. And now, almost a year later Preldzic has discovered his “Turkish roots” and now wants to play for the Turkish NT in the upcoming World Championship in a few months time. Could his actions be driven by the fact that he currently plays in the Turkish league and the coach who brought him there was Tanjevic, who happens to currently be the head coach of Turkey NT? Although no concrete proofs exist, the facts strongly hint it is the case.

This will make many sides happy. Fenerbahce Ulker will suddenly get an extra Turkish international player in their squad, will be able to sign an extra foreigner, the man who brought him to Fenerbahce Ulker will have another solution in his hands in the World Championship and Turkey NT will get another non-Turkish born player in their team for the years to come (Ilyasova anyone?).

The only factor standing in the way of this scandal is the Slovenian Basketball Federation. Rumours have it that the Turkish Basketball Federation will try to buy-off a clearance from their Slovenian counterparts. If Slovenian Basketball Federation gives in to this blackmail, only time will show.

One thing is certain, certain National Teams and Basketball Federations, can not just go around “buying” off future stars and FIBA must put a stop to it. They already rejected Bosnia & Herzegovina’s motion for Preldzic last season, but will they be able to resist the pressure from Turkey, especially since the World Championship will take place in Turkey in less that 3 months?

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