By Jack Lennard, Quidditch Post COO
The ITU HoneyBees, the quidditch team of Istanbul Technical University, have confirmed today that they will no longer be attending the 2015 European Quidditch Cup. In a statement exclusively made to the Quidditch Post by the head of the team, Levent Gerçeker, it was revealed that captains departing the team and financial difficulties had been behind the decision.
"ITU Honeybees will not be attending EQC 2015," Gerçeker said. "Two days ago, both our captains left the team. This affected the rest of the team. Many of us still believed we should go to EQC 2015 and have fun, and a couple others didn't want to go if we were not able to achieve a positive competitive outcome. In the end, there weren't enough players that could afford a trip to England since, despite popular belief, our university would not help us financially. So now we will start training-and saving money-for next year."
When asked about the nature of the departures, Gerçeker linked them to a lack of faith in the Honeybees’ hopes of attending the tournament in light of the lack of financial aid. He also revealed that they had chosen to join Turkish rivals, METU Unicorns, who will be attending EQC 2015.
"They just didn't believe that we could go at all, and now the reason we cannot go is a lack of players,’ said Gerçeker. ‘METU Unicorns had also offered them to join, so they took it."
The EQC 2015 Committee have not announced which team will be offered the newly available spot at the tournament, taking place in Oxford, UK on the 18-19 April. However, given that QuidditchUK’s numerous teams have previously secured it available spots, and the short notice of ITU’s announcement in relation to the tournament limiting the availability of teams to accept an offer, speculation is rife that the space will be offered to a UK team.
If this is the case, the space will be offered to the Leicester Thestrals due to their strong finish in the British Quidditch Cup earlier this month. Leicester reached the quarter-finals after defeating Durhamstrang in one of the bigger upsets of the weekend, before being defeated by the eventual third-placed team, Keele Squirrels. It is not yet clear whether Leicester would take up the offer of a place at EQC 2015 were it to be offered to them.
Update, 18:27 GMT: METU Unicorns have released a statement exclusively to the Quidditch Post clarifying their role in the transfer of Bedriye Ecem Satıcı and Melih Yaşa from the Honeybees. Captain Can Kaytaz wrote:
"I would like to make it clear that our transfer offer to Ecem and Melih was made after we were absolutely sure that they had left their former team, the ITU Honeybees.
"Neither Kamil [the other captain of the Unicorns] nor I have any disputes with the Honeybees and are very sad to see that they are unable to come to EQC. We know first hand that it is very difficult for a Turkish team to attend a tournament abroad. We want to make it clear that we never made a transfer offer to Ecem and Melih while they were still members of the Honeybees. As Unicorns, we are always looking to improve, but not at the expense of other teams.
"Regarding the merc player rules of the EQC, the players have used their right to transfer, and are therefore oficially METU Unicorns players until the end of season at least in Turkey (though hopefully for longer). Players from different cities playing on the same team isn't unheard of.
"Ecem is an experienced player who we wanted to join our team if she moved to Ankara and Melih can add a lot to the team. I want to welcome them to our team once more.