French basketball star M'Baye joins Moscow CSKA


French basketball star M'Baye joins Moscow CSKA
French basketball player Amath M'Baye has joined CSKA Moscow / © AFP

French basketball star Amath M'Baye has joined CSKA Moscow until mid 2024, the team announced Friday, a deal that bars him from the French national side over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine.

France's basketball federation ruled after the Kremlin launched large-scale hostilities in Ukraine last year that players who join Russian or Belarusian teams will not be sanctioned to play for the national side.

"Welcome to the red-and-blue family, Amath!", the Moscow-based team with historic links to the Russian military, wrote on Twitter.

"I am excited to be part of such a legendary organisation, and discover a new league. Looking forward to getting to work!" M'Baye was cited as saying by the club.

M'Baye, 33, is not the first French basketball player to join Russian teams since Moscow deployed its troops to Ukraine last February.

Last September, Thomas Heurtel signed a contract with Zenit in Saint Petersburg, ruling himself out of the French side.

M'Baye was part of the French team during the basketball World Cup in 2019 and the Euro 2022.

He played for Milan's Olimpia and Bologna's Virtus, before playing for the Anadolu Efes club in Turkey -- one of the strongest in Europe.

Two other French basketball players currently play on Russian teams -- Livio Jean-Charles also at CSKA and Louis Labeyrie in the central Russian city of Kazan.

Russian teams have been banned from taking part in competitions in Europe following Moscow's Ukraine offensive.

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