David Hein's Eye on the Future
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German league giving clubs incentive for "home grown" players

REGENSBURG (David Hein's Eye on the Future) - The German basketball Beko BBL has taken a very intriging stance on the level of their player development while also promising their clubs a different kind of reward for committing to a young player.

Let's take a step back and report the news from the weekend in Berlin where the Beko BBL clubs met to announce that they were retaining the 6+6 foreigner regulation until the end of the 2019-20 season.

The rule is that clubs must have six players with a German passport on the 12-man game roster. Five Germans are required on an 11-man game squad, while teams suiting up 10 players must have four of them own German passports.

This is not news in terms of new information. But the clubs made an intriguing addition to the 6+6 rule, allowing for so-called "home grown" players.

Again, let's take a half-step back.

German basketball has been working hard to develop young talent with the long-term goal of creating a greater number of well-trained young players and hoping they would eventually reach the German senior national team and be leaders of the Beko BBL teams.

And the teams in the nationwide U16 JBBL and U19 NBBL leagues - with every first division clubs being required to have a team in each league - have been producing more and more good players and even some potential superstars since the start of the NBBL in 2006 and the JBBL in 2009.

Of course, nearly all of the players in the JBBL and NBBL are young Germans. But with Germany being a massive cosmopolitan melting pot with people of hundreds of different nationalities living in the country, there are more young foreign-born players entering the JBBL/NBBL system.

The Beko BBL said that young foreign players are even coming to Germany solely with the intention of using the improved training to become better players.

Now, we can go back to the "home grown" players...

According to the new rule, foreign players who have been with a Beko BBL's youth teams - JBBL or NBBL - for three seasons and then receive a contract from that same club that is also valid in Germany's top flight are then classified as a "home grown" player and count as a German in the 6+6 regulation. It must be five consecutive seasons otherwise they do not qualify.

At the moment, no one in the Beko BBL who would qualify to be a "home grown" player, who also retains this status for the rest of the career in Germany, even if they move to another club after the five seasons.

So, the players have the incentive to stay with a club over the long haul because they can eventually have the valuable asset of not counting as a foreigner. And the clubs are rewarded for their development work and commitment by having a foreigner who doesn't count as one - and someone they can work with over the long term.

This rule might not make an impact in the next three, four or five seasons. But the fact that it's there as a long-term incentive might actually lead to more youngsters from outside Germany to come to Beko BBL clubs to be developed, especially if youngsters continue to see a high level of player being produced by German teams.

Once again, the Beko BBL has shown a willingness to think outside the box and proven they are fully aware of the state of the league and given their clubs a way to be rewarded for the work they put into their players - both young and old, German, foreigner or "home grown".

David Hein


FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.

FIBA takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.

David Hein

David Hein

Walk into the media tribune of any major basketball event and there's a good chance you will come across David Hein. Having covered dozens of FIBA events, including numerous women's and youth events, there are few players Dave doesn't know about, and few players who don't know him. His sporting curiosity means he is always looking to unearth something new and a little bit special. David Hein's Eye on the Future is a weekly column digging out the freshest basketball talent worldwide and assessing what the basketball landscape will look like a couple of years down the line.