The leader is ineligible for the Blues after going against a sworn certificate that he signed in the summer of 2022, like the other players selected for the Euro a few weeks later, in which he committed, after the invasion of Ukraine, not to join a Russian or Belarusian club.
However, according to Heurtel, the president of the Federation Jean-Pierre Siutat, the coach of the French team Vincent Collet and the general manager Boris Diaw were aware even before the Euro, which he played, of his signing at Zenith. “Of course they know. Of course the charter was bogus. That's why it has to be torn up. Everyone knew about it,” declared the 34-year-old Frenchman on the “Skweek Show by Tony Parker”, a show which will be broadcast on Friday on the Skweek platform.
The “Fédé” was quick to deny this. “The Federal Office of the FFBB and its President, Jean-Pierre Siutat, were not aware of the existence of a contract between Thomas Heurtel and a Russian or Belarusian club,” we say in a press release. And continued: “It was clearly the player's choice, after EuroBasket, to sign and play for a Russian club with full knowledge of the facts and in non-compliance with the sworn statement that he had signed.
With Heurtel as the holder, France won the silver medal at the Euro in September 2022. A few days later, his signing in Saint Petersburg was made official, then his exclusion from the Blues was announced by the French Federation.
While captain Nicolas Batum campaigned for his return after the fiasco of the 2023 World Cup, where the Blues displayed deficiencies at the leader position, Heurtel “hopes to be” at the Paris Olympic Games. “I spoke about it with Boris (Diaw), Vincent (Collet)... They say that if I have a contract next season with Saint Petersburg, it is impossible for me to make the Olympics. I have to sign (elsewhere, Editor's note) before the announcement of the group,” in mid-May, declared Heurtel. “This is the message that the Minister of Sports sent to the Federation” further affirmed the player, under contract until the summer of 2025 with the Zénith but who has an exit clause in 2024.
Amélie Oudéa-Castera declared at the end of August that there was “no question” of calling into question the rules laid down by the federations concerning athletes playing in Russia. Heurtel also said he was ready to “return to Europe (in 2024) with a lower salary” than the one he currently receives in Saint Petersburg.