Turkish football left a very hot summer under match-fixing probe. Games were delayed for a month, Turkish football fans waited anxiously and finally ball touches the pitch this weekend.
Last year’s champions, Turkish giants Fenerbahce is starting this season with a broken heart. Their president and two of the managers have been arrested due to matchfixing allegations and waiting for their trial. The team has been banned from Champions League. Players are trying not to think about all these and continue their training hard for this season. Obviously there is anger in Samandira training pitch of Fenerbahce. None of the players were involed in allegations and they are very sorry about the developments. Fans on the other hand are paying millions of dollars for shirts and other licenced products to support their team and expect a good performance.
Probably one of the best foreign players of all times in Turkey Alex De Souza told Euronews that he separated what happened on the field from what is happening in the legal arena. “It is very heartbreaking. Last year we came 9 points behind from Trabzonspor but able to finish as champions. No one can get this pride from us. This year like the last year we will be chasing victories” said captain.
The match-fixing probe is not only about Fenerbahce. When you look at the allegations at least 5 more Super League teams are under threat of punishment. Many important names are behind bars waiting for the indictment. Until the first day of th ecourt they will remain in prison. Many in Turkey are criticising this long process, and ask for trial without arrest.
Match-fixing probe also put Turkish Football Association in a difficult situation. Chairman Mehmet Ali Aydınlar said they would not take any decision without court decision. But pressures from UEFA resulted with banning of Fenerbahce from Champions League.
Now Fenerbahce sued UEFA and Turkish Football Association due to breach of procedures. Lawyer of the Club M. Emin Ozturk told Euronews that “there is no court decision, there is no Federation decision about the allegations. Even our defences were not listened. Under these circumstances our banning from Champions League is not legal. So we took the case to CAS and asked for 45 million Euro compensation. We hope that this case will last not more than a year. We cannot leave our rights.”
The club is also angry with UEFA President Michel Platini. Platini said “Hard days awaits Turkish football not only Fenerbahce. You will see this when you learn evidences” last week. Ozturk also criticised this statements for being prejudiced against their team by saying “Officials of such organizations are expected to be objective and impartial. We are dissappointed with these statements.”
But there is stil hope in Turkey. “Ball is round” as said, and the game is not ever yet. Fans believe that things will get better once the matches are started to be played.
All these covered headlines fort he last month.
Bora Bayraktar, Istanbul