Fenerbahce defend Super Cup walk-out saying Turkish football is rigged against them

April 9 – Fenerbahce have defended their walking off the field in the Turkish Super Cup against Istanbul rivals Galatasaray, saying they are protesting against a football system in the country that is rigged.

On Sunday, the Turkish Super Cup descended into chaos when Fenerbahce walked off after only 101 seconds and Galatarasay were declared the 1-0 winners following an early goal by Argentine striker Mauro Icardi.

Fenerbahce had been dissatisfied with the timing of the showpiece match ahead of their Europa Conference League quarter-final match against Olympiakos of Greece on Thursday having asked for the Super Cup final to be postponed to allow them more time to prepare for the European tie.

The club from the Asian side of Istanbul fielded an U-19 team to start the match in protest.

In their statement on Monday, Fenerbahce said: “For the past 20 years, Fenerbahçe Sports Club has been fighting against an unjust football system in Türkiye. The Fenerbahçe community continues to demonstrate a stance against the unfair system in Turkish football through both sporting and legal means.”

The statement then goes on to list a series of historical grievances including the famous match-fixing case in the 2010-2011 season, in which they were falsely accused of match-fixing “by a terrorist organisation infiltrated within the state and faced legal proceedings.”

From 2011 to 2021, Fenerbahce were embroiled in a ten-year legal battle before proving their innocence. During that time they maintain they “suffered significant commercial losses and a halving of their company’s value due to the trap set for the club.”

They also missed out on two seasons of Champions League football while they waited for the judicial decision.

The club also referred to the latest disgrace in Turkish football in the March match against Trabzonspor when supporters stormed the field and attacked Fenerbahce players. The Turkish FA (TFF) ordered Trabzonspor to play six matches behind closed doors. Two Fenerbahce players were also banned for a match.

Last week, Fenerbahce voted to stay in the SuperLig after organising an extraordinary general assembly. The vote authorised chairman Ali Koc to take action, but was not a direct referendum on exiting the league.

Koc said: “The least preferred option was to withdraw from the league. The reason why this opinion is not wanted is that people think we would have to deal in the lower league with the same things we deal with here. We are taking this option off the table until the general assembly at the end of the season.”

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