Marcus Campbell is finally free to leave Qatar and is on a plane back home to the US, just in time for Thanks Giving.
The story of Marcus Campbell is one of the most bizarre of the 2012/2013 season so far.
Five days ago Court Side Newspaper published that Marcus Campbell was prevented from leaving Qatar because his former team Al Rayyan Doha Club refused to give him an exit visa which is needed to leave the country.
Al Rayyan had terminated the agreement with Campbell because they had exceeded the quota on import players. However, the club refused to compensate Campbell according to the terms of the contract and told him to vacate his apartment and take the first flight home.
Campbell’s agent, Bill McCandless, notified the club about their breach of contract and that he would seek justice for his client via FIBA arbitration.
From that point on, Marcus Campbell was constantly pressured by Al Rayyan and even by individuals within the Qatar Basketball Federation to sign a document in which he would forfeit his right to seek FIBA arbitration and waive all his rights that were stated in the contract with the club.
Campbell refused and as a result, the club denied him the exit visa so he was basically held in Qatar against his will.
After Court Side Newspaper had published the story on Campbell many other websites did the same and it was picked up by readers who then put links to the story on their Facebook pages.
The story went viral and caused a Social Media “Full Court Press” on the club from Qatar and even the Qatar Basketball Federation. FIBA also contacted the Qatari and Campbell got the US consulate involved as well.
Qatar is interested in hosting international FIBA events in the near future and can really not use any bad publicity nor any irritations with FIBA, so Al Rayyan finally gave up and issued Marcus Campbell his exit visa so he could leave the country. He was also allowed to use his apartment the past couple of days.
Unfortunately, the offer from Cyprus is no longer on the table so Campbell lost that job because he was held against his will in Qatar.
As Campbell is on a plane back home, his agent is still talking to the club about a compensation for Campbell for the two months that he stayed in Qatar and the loss of the job with Apollon from Cyprus. If no settlement is reached then Campbell will take his case to FIBA arbitration. However, the latest reports suggest that the negotiations are going well and that an agreement in principle has been reached. The real test, however, will be the execution of any deal that is agreed upon.
The main thing is that Campbell has finally been allowed to leave Qatar.
All the individuals who put links on their Facebook pages, and all the websites who picked up the article, have played a very big role in letting this horror story have a happy end.
Social Media pressure turned out to be more powerful than any lawyer, arbitration, or even diplomatic relations.