More and more scandals are flaring up at the European Championship.
The fourth day of Eurobasket was remembered not only by the battle between Germany and Lithuania (107:109 2OT), which ended with a protest by the Baltics (as a result, it was rejected by FIBA), but also by a crazy showdown in the match between Georgia and Turkey (83:88 2OT) in Tbilisi. Turkish Basketball Federation (FBT) officials say a group of Georgian players attacked forward Furkan Karkmaz as he headed to the locker room after being sent off.
FBT Vice-President Amer Anan said that if the organizers do not provide the video from the surveillance cameras in the tribune area, the team will withdraw from the tournament. The Turks also filed a protest against the refereeing. It turns out that during the fight between Korkmaz and Duda Sanadza (after which both were expelled), the referee’s table did not stop time. As a result, 22 seconds disappeared in the quarter. Horrible technical glitch that could lead to a replay. But will the Turks want to play in the capital of Georgia now?
Photo by Global Look Press
What happened in the tunnel?
The teacher of the Turks, Ergin Ataman, does not like the choice of Georgia as one of the organizers of EuroBasket-2022. Already after the first match with Montenegro, he complained about the lack of atmosphere. Like, the star players came to the tournament, but they are playing in front of empty stands. “There were about a hundred spectators at the game. What is the difference between Eurobasket and youth national team tournaments?” – lamented the two-time Euroleague winner.
After the game with Bulgaria, Ataman noted that he was not satisfied with the hotel. It takes more than an hour for the team to get from it to the arena. And on not the most comfortable transport: “A number of players have back problems, I simply do not take them to a number of training sessions. It’s too far for us to go to the arena.”
Apagei came in the match with the hosts. There were no problems with the atmosphere here – the stands were full of passionate spectators who really wanted to punish Ataman for his harsh statements. The Turkish national team was loudly booed throughout the game, and when in the middle of the fourth ten-minute match between Karkmaz and Sanada, the fans started throwing foreign objects onto the floor.
The referees watched the episode for a long time and as a result sent both players to rest early. As Karkmaz walked down the tunnel to the locker room, he was attacked by three Georgian players and someone from the security service. Later it turned out that they were Sanade, Gogo Bitadze and Tornik Shengella. The last two did not get into the final application of their national team due to injuries, so they did not have the right to be in the under-stand area.
“When Karkmaz was walking down the corridor to the locker room with our coach, he was attacked by players of the Georgian national team who did not participate in the match, along with the suspended player and the police,” said FBT vice-president Omer Anan. – After the match, 30 policemen provoked a fight. We had to fight with the Georgian police. I have reported this to FIBA officials. And I want to appeal to them through the media: don’t let anyone fool you and think we’re stupid. We need all the video footage from the cameras from this corridor every minute. If the organizers do not do this, we will leave the tournament.”
The Georgian mass media note that there was no attack. The players just talked in raised voices and mingled a bit. It seems that only the video will solve the two sides.
Photo by Global Look Press
Question 22 seconds
Georgia ended up winning in the second overtime, but after the match, the discussion was not about the game, but about basketball. Ergin Ataman was sent off during overtime, so his assistant Hakan Demir came to the press conference. He stressed that the Turks have two matches left to play in Tbilisi, but he is not sure that it is safe: “We came here to play basketball, not to box. We are therefore very concerned about the weakness of the security system that was demonstrated today. We will follow the development of events, I do not rule out that we will not play again in Tbilisi. The guards, instead of protecting us, on the contrary, provoked the players and officials into a fight. This is unacceptable.”
Another important point that can change the balance of power in this group is a possible replay of the match. Probably without an audience. The fact is that due to the oversight of the referee’s table in the fourth quarter, not 10 minutes were played, but 9:38. The official in charge of the scoreboard forgot to turn off the stopwatch during the fight between Korkmaz and Sanade. The Turks believe that this directly affected the result, and filed a protest.
And if the protest of the Lithuanians was not even considered (it was submitted later than 60 minutes after the final siren; game episodes are not protested), then the “disappearance” of 22 seconds is a serious regulatory violation.