Marcus Campbell (214-C-82, agency: Three Eye Sports, college: Mississippi St.), a veteran of many professional leagues over a career spanning eight seasons, is de facto being held hostage in Qatar, after his Club refused yesterday to authorize the American players exit from the Country.
Bags packed, ready to board an airplane to play in a new country, Campbell was told he cannot leave the country. Marcus Campbell, who signed a partially guaranteed contract with Al Rayyan Doha Club in mid-September, and arrived in Doha, Qatar on September 25, never played one official game for the Club after being informed that the teams conceptthe allocation or quotas between African and foreign playershad changed according to constantly changing league and Federation rules. The Player, who signed on for a $10,000 monthly salary, but was paid only $1430 for his fifty days of pre-season work in Doha, accepted the rule change and agreed to leave the team. However, he and his agent, Bill McCandless, citing the Playing Contract, asked the Club to honor the terms of a contract which stated that, if the team released him, they would pay Campbell for the time he was with the team (roughly $17,000) plus a $25,000 severance penalty (and an additional $ 8.500 in agent fees).
After negotiating with the Club and its many managers, translators, and coaches for days on end, the Club finally offered the Player a $20,000 settlement. Armed with a clear contract saying that the Club owed more than twice this amount, Campbell rejected the offer. After more days of back and forth, Campbells agent sent Al Rayyan Doha an ultimatum: settle for more than the $20,000 offered, or face FIBA Arbitration. The Club declined to offer more and a search was underway for a new job for the seven foot center.
During that time Marcus Campbell was unceasingly pressured by the Club and even by people working within the Qatar Basketball Federation to accept the $20,000 offer. They told me, Campbell said from Doha in an interview on Friday, forget about your agent, sign this release and well pay you $20,000, and well give you a ticket back to the United States. Campbell went on, at first, I thought, well the offer is better than nothing, but then I started to think, Ive been here for almost two months, and this team agreed that Id be paid a $25,000 severance fee if they released me, Ill pass on the low ball offer and take them to FIBA arbitration. Campbells agent, adds: I had dealt with this Club before and they had shorted another player of mine, so before I agreed to put Marcus on the plane to Qatar, I insisted that there be a set penalty if they cut the player or terminated the contract. McCandless adds, a couple of years ago, a center of ours was cut, not for skill, but because the team had not registered with the Federation on time. It seemed to me that I should protect Marcus if the same thing were to happen again.
On Tuesday, Marcus Campbell landed a job in Cyprus with Apollon Limassol, and on that very date, Campbells coach in Qatar, American Brian Rowsom, told the Player he had to vacate the apartment in two days. By then, Campbell says, I had decided to take the job in Cyprus and reject the Qatari teams low ball settlement offer. McCandless adds, Years ago, players in Marcus situation would have had to bring a lawsuit in Qatar, but today is a different day: FIBA Arbitration provides a fair and relatively inexpensive way for Players and Clubs to resolve disputes. McCandless goes on: Marcus didnt like the teams offer, he was put off by the teams pressure tactics, so we decided that we would officially notify the Club that they were in material breach, and then leave to take a new job. Still, getting Rowsons eviction notice sent chills down the big centers spine. I came here, Campbell says, to play basketball. I get cut basically because of some registration mistake, nothing to do with skill, the team kicks me to the curb, gives me next to no money to eat, then tells the Coach to tell me get out in two days. McCandless chimes in: face it, they were mad we didnt fold and take their offer, and so they decided to send Marcus an eviction notice.
Waking today in Doha, Campbell never could have imagined what was to follow. My new Club from Cyprus had gotten me a 7 am flight, so I woke early, taxied to the airport, anxious to see a new country and actually play basketball again! The American Center checked in at the Gulf Air ticket counter, got his ticket, and ambled to passport control. There, he presented his passport and ticket. And the wheels came off. where is your visa exit document? said the woman in the booth. Campbell said he had none, and was turned away.
Thousands of miles away, agent McCandless cell phone rung. I saw it was Marcus calling, said McCandless, so I picked it up, figuring he would tell me he was on the plane. Not so. Campbell sounded discouraged: they wont let me leave. He then explained why. McCandless urged Marcus to not give up. I told him, go to the Qatar Basketball Federation, tell them your problem, and perhaps theyll get you an exit visa, and you can fly on Friday to Cyprus. McCandless goes on: I mean, the player plays for a team for 50 days, makes next to nothing, gets evicted, and tries to take a plane to a new job in a new country and he cant get out?
Turned away, feeling like he had lost a second job, Campbell decide to make some calls and get some answers. First, he called the teams translator, who seemed to know nothing. He called other team managers and the Coach, but no one seemed willing to help.
Marcus Campbell then goes to the Qatari Basketball Federation to see if they can issue him the exit visa to leave the country.
At the Federation office, nobody seems to be willing to help. On the contrary, there too insinuations are made that Campbell should have accepted the settlement offer made by the club. Things got really bizarre when the assistant secretary general of the Qatar Basketball Federation, Mr. Mohammad Ali Hobash, turns out to be the President of Al Rayyan! The club that had terminated the agreement with Campbell, thrown him out of his apartment, and now prevented him from leaving the country!
Marcus Campbell was fired on the 25th of October. He has no money, no place to stay and cant leave the country. He is basically held hostage. His former club and the Qatari Basketball federation will only let him leave the country if he signs a document that he will NOT take the case to FIBA arbitration and waives all his rights and claims.
Marcus Campbell has turned to the US Consulate, meaning that this story could now become international. In the meantime, the FIBA has also gotten involved and has asked the Qatar Basketball Federation to immediately issue an exit visa to Campbell. Whatever happens, one thing seems clear; there will be a legal follow-up.
Ayeni's 40 points help Al Wakrah past Al Ahli - 2 days ago
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Olatunbo Ayeni (196-F-87, college: St.Francis, NY) was in a zone all of his own as he powered Al Wakrah to an emphatic 97-73 win over Al Ahli in the Emir cup basketball tournament last evening. His match-high 40 points in the Group A match snuffed the fight out of Al Ahli as Al Wakrah completed a dominating performance as the tournament heads towards the quarter-finals. Al Wakrah made a brisk start and had established a 29-11 advantage by the end of the first 10 minutes. They kept on pili... [read more]
Olatunbo Ayeni (196-F-87, college: St.Francis, NY) was in a zone all of his own as he powered Al Wakrah to an emphatic 97-73 win over Al Ahli in the Emir cup basketball tournament last evening. His match-high 40 points in the Group A match snuffed the fight out of Al Ahli as Al Wakrah completed a dominating performance as the tournament heads towards the quarter-finals. Al Wakrah made a brisk start and had established a 29-11 advantage by the end of the first 10 minutes. They kept on piling on the misery for Al Ahli, leading 52-30 and 78-51 after the second and third periods before finishing off the match in style. Olatokunbo found the basket from the three-point mark four times and had a 58.33 percent field goal conversion rate. Shaher Matalkeh with 14 and Nick Diatta and Thomas Blair with 12 each played supporting roles for Al Wakrah, who scored 23 second chance points and 16 from fast breaks. At one point Al Wakrah enjoyed a 31-point lead (48-17) and enjoyed the lead throughout the game. Omar Ahmad with21 and Aleksandar Mitrovic (201-F-90, agency: Interperformances) with 20 did their bit for Al Ahli but that proved too little too late. In Group B El Jaish stayed in the hunt for their second title of the year with a convincing 73-56 victory over Al Sadd. Vernon Macklin (208-F/C-86, college: Florida)'s 21 points and James Davon's 17 served El Jaish well but none of their other players scored in the double figures. El Jaish led throughout but for a brief moment when Al Sadd were ahead at 8-7 and by the end of the third quarter they were comfortably poised with a commanding 55-35 advantage from where there was no chance of them losing. For Al Sadd, Moustafa Fouda with 17 and Nabil Abuissa with 13 were the main scorers. El Jaish scored 21 points from turnovers and 26 from fast breaks, while Al Sadd's figures were considerably poorer. Today, Al Khor play Qatar Sports Club while Al Gharafa play Al Shamal. Courtesy of: gulf-times.com
Al Wakrah and El Jaish post contrasting victories - 7 days ago
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Ayeni Olatokunbo scored a match-high 32 points to help Al Wakrah post a convincing 84-63 win over Al Sadd in the Emir Cup last evening. Ayeni, who played the full duration of the game, made 11 of 26 field goal attempts and nailed all his nine free-throws to torment Al Sadd. Blair added 25 points, with nine coming from the three-point mark, besides producing seven assists and five steals. Al Sadd just about managed to edge the first quarter at 22-20, but Wakrah managed to restrict them to... [read more]
Ayeni Olatokunbo scored a match-high 32 points to help Al Wakrah post a convincing 84-63 win over Al Sadd in the Emir Cup last evening. Ayeni, who played the full duration of the game, made 11 of 26 field goal attempts and nailed all his nine free-throws to torment Al Sadd. Blair added 25 points, with nine coming from the three-point mark, besides producing seven assists and five steals. Al Sadd just about managed to edge the first quarter at 22-20, but Wakrah managed to restrict them to just 10 points in the second and scored 23 points of their own to turn the match in their favour. With a 43-32 lead in after the second quarter, Al Wakrah had the perfect launching pad and they took full advantage of it to put the result of the match beyond doubt by almost doubling their lead (64-46). For Al Sadd, Faris Sadikovic scored 15 points, while Oumar Seck (208-C-88) and Mohamed Ouiri had 14 and 11, respectively. In another match, El Jaish edged out Al Rayyan 92-86, thanks largely to a brilliant final quarter during which they scored 25 points. Vernon Macklin (208-F/C-86, college: Florida) was the star for the winners with 29 points with a field goal percentage of 72.22. Saeed Irfan Ali, Atif El Hadry and Hani Abilmona chipped in with 17, 16 and 13 points, respectively. Al Rayyan led 24-17 at the end of the first quarter but Jaish turned the tables on them slowly but surely. After tying the second quarter at 42 all, they edged the third period 67-63 before eventually clinching victory. Onassis Bowles and Hassan Mohamed with 20 and 19 respectively excelled for Al Rayyan. Today, Al Shamal play Al Khor at 5pm followed by a match between Al Gharafa and Al Arabi at 7pm. Courtesy of: gulf-times.com
Gharafa thrash Qatar SC, Arabi edge out Shamal - 12 days ago
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Gharafa continued their impressive showing in local basketball by thrashing Qatar Sports Club 102-74 in the Emir Cup yesterday. After narrowly missing out on the league title to El Jaish, Al Gharafa had made amends by winning the Qatar Cup in March and now look poised for a domestic double as the season heads towards its close. Yesterday, Al Gharafa were in great scoring form with Abdulrahman Saad (185-G/F-96)'s 23 points anchoring them to a commanding victory. As many as four other Al Gh... [read more]
Gharafa continued their impressive showing in local basketball by thrashing Qatar Sports Club 102-74 in the Emir Cup yesterday. After narrowly missing out on the league title to El Jaish, Al Gharafa had made amends by winning the Qatar Cup in March and now look poised for a domestic double as the season heads towards its close. Yesterday, Al Gharafa were in great scoring form with Abdulrahman Saad (185-G/F-96)'s 23 points anchoring them to a commanding victory. As many as four other Al Gharafa players registered scores in the double figures, a key factor in their win. Michael Taylor (19), Sammy Monroe (198-F-85, college: Newberry) (18), Salem Abdelqader (15) and Salem Abdulla (11) all played their part as Al Gharafa led from the start. They enjoyed an 81-55 advantage after the end of the third quarter before closing out the match in emphatic fashion. Al Gharafa scored 22 points from turnovers, while Qatar Sports Club could only manage 10. Al Gharafa's bench too played a major part with 25 points, while Qatar Sports Club substitutes could only manage five. Qatar Sports Club's Edward Justice however top-scored in the match with 29 points. In another match, Adamu Saaka (198-SF-88, college: Furman) scored 33 and Osaro Adako and Souleye Ndour contributed 20 each as Al Arabi fought off a late challenge from Al Shamal to win 92-86 Al Shamal trailed throughout and were 10 points in deficit at the end of the second quarter (50-40) but never gave up trying. In the end though, Al Arabi managed to hold on to their advantageous position to seal victory with a bit to spare. Harat Mohamed was the top scorer for 31, while Nikola Vasojevic (196-G-86) contributed 17. Tomorrow, Al Ahli play Al Rayyan, while Al Wakrah meet El Jaish. Courtesy of: gulf-times.com
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