“This is a form of competition distortion”: disbelief at Telenet Giants Antwerp after American center Royce Hamm wants to force departure

Royce Hamm not returning to the Giants; — © BELGIUM

The American center Royce Hamm did not return from America this morning and informed the management of Telenet Giants Antwerp through his agent Pete Mickeal that he will no longer play for the Sinjoren. Pete Mickeal is CEO of Mickeal Sports Group. A firm with founding member Ernie Cambo. The man who cleared Liège’s debts, provided a financial injection and is the new… chairman and unofficially the owner.

Patrick Ceulemans

“We have to contest the semi-finals of the Belgian Cup against … Liège in two weeks. This is weakening an opponent. Call it a form of competition distortion,” said an angry Björn Verhoeven, chairman of Telenet Giants Antwerp. He already contacted Wim Van de Keere, general manager of the BNXT League.

“The day after the Christmas game (December 26) against Okapi Aalst, we were contacted by Pete Mickeal saying that Royce wanted to terminate his contract by paying a buy-out, because he has an offer from another club,” says Eddy Faus , General Manager of Telenet Giants Antwerp. “We absolutely could not agree to this, after which Royce has now officially informed his agent that he will not return to Antwerp. We are very shocked by this turn of events and also see a very clear action here to destabilize our club. The board will consider the legal action to be taken against the player and his management in the coming days. The club is still trying to convince Royce Hamm and his agent to continue the season at Telenet Giants Antwerp, otherwise the sporting staff will be forced to look for a worthy replacement,” said Eddy Faus.

General Manager Eddy Faus next to coach Ivica Skelin of Telenet Giants Antwerp. — © GOYVAERTS/GMAX AGENCY

That there is in the construction of it new look Hatch becoming more and more questions to be asked is clear. “Wim Van de Keere of the BNXT League told us that as long as Royce Hamm does not sign for Liège, they cannot do anything. However, we feel caught by Royce Hamm’s agent. This is deliberately weakening a club with a view to the semi-finals of the Belgian Cup against Liège later this month. A form of competition distortion,” says chairman Björn Verhoeven of Telenet Giants Antwerp. Words that were also used last month by former national coach Eddy Casteels (Leuven Bears coach, ed.).

It has been known for a long time that sports clubs are increasingly becoming a plaything for brokers. What Liège does, however, goes one step further and does more than raise eyebrows. An agent (Pete Mickeal) who on the one hand places players (currently five including Belgian Lion Kevin Tumba who left Brussels, ed.) at Liège and a chairman (Ernie Cambo) of Liège who has a position at the Mickeal Sports Group. There is also a David Putterie walking around at Liège. He is Ernie Cambo’s liaison officer, who will also have to help develop the new Liège in the coming months. An agent / broker who commutes between Miami and Liège and the agent of Maxime Depuydt (player Liège, ed.). Given his position at the club from the Vurige Stede, he would have (temporarily?) stopped as a FIBA ​​Agent. The fact that the line at Liège between what is legally possible is currently paper thin is really an issue. With Telenet Giants Antwerp, which has to face Liège three times in January (twice Belgian Cup and competition), currently the biggest victim.

“After a bad start to the competition, we finally came under steam in December with three new players. This resulted in qualification for the semi-finals of the Belgian Cup and two great league victories in Leuven Bears and at home against Okapi Aalst at a nice end to 2022. However, this news puts a damper. Do you know that we flew Royce Hamm back to America in November for the funeral for his late grandfather. That probably cost us the profit in Aalst. We will respond, but now find a good and affordable center. We play seven games in January. Decisive towards the finals of the Cup and the Elite Gold of the BNXT League,” said Giants general manager Eddy Faus.

Chairman Björn Verhoeven (left) is very angry about the situation around Royce Hamm. — © GOYVAERTS/GMAX Agency

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