The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed an appeal by Turkish club Beşiktaş JK against the decision by the UEFA Appeals Body of 30 May 2012.
CAS has confirmed the sanctions imposed by the UEFA Appeals Body. Consequently, Beşiktaş JK are excluded from the next two UEFA club competitions for which they qualify in the next five seasons; the exclusion for the second competition is suspended for a probationary period of five years; Besiktas JK are also fined €200,000, of which €100,000 is suspended for a probationary period of five years.
Turkish football team Fenerbahçe will be allowed to compete in this year’s Champions League, UEFA announced today.
Fener fans were overjoyed by UEFA’s call to allow the team to compete.
The club had been going through a rough patch over the past year as a result of a match-fixing scandal that had already seen it banned from last year’s Champions League.
Over the weekend, Galatasaray and Trabzonspor, teams also involved in legal troubles over the nationwide match-fixing cases, were cleared to play in European competitions.
Beşiktaş, Bursaspor and Gaziantepspor, was all excluded from playing in European competitions for financial misdemeanors, although the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) lifted Bursa’s ban earlier today.
Gianni Infantino, the UEFA General Secretary, was virtually the lone voice speaking on behalf of the UEFA during the heights of the alleged match-fixing investigation in Turkey last summer. The Italian appeared to play an active role in the eventual ban of the 2010-11 Turkish Superlig champions Fenerbahce from the Champions League despite the fact that Turkish Football Federation had not allowed the Istanbul club the chance to defend itself against the accusations that were only available in the media and in violation of the gag order imposed by the court. The alleged evidence presented as sure facts at the time later proved to be untrue after the actual indictment came out in December.
Infantino not only wrote a threatening letter to the UEFA, but also, as it was later exposed by the CAS arbitrator Kismet Erkiner - one of the two Turkish arbitrators at CAS - based upon the UEFA statement to CAS during Fenerbahce’s appeal to the highest court of arbitration in sport, turned out to be the person who sent the UEFA Chief Counsel Pierre Cornu to Turkey to meet with the prosecutor when it was legally impossible to obtain information on the case.
What ensued was theatre put on by the Turkish media and the TFF as though the UEFA was investigating the case in order to determine the punishment for the clubs implicated - i.e. Fenerbahce, Trabzonspor and Besiktas. What escaped the common eye was the fact that the Turkish media was dominated by the Turkish political authority via pro-government ownership and taxation according to programming and news reporting with heavy taxes levied on the media groups that did not walk the desired line. The most powerful of these companies, Dogan Group, was the victim of the largest tax levy in 2007 and has since changed its tone.
The UEFA General Secretary commissioned Pierre Cornu to Turkey and then send to the TFF the letter with the threatening tone. He then topped it off by making a statement of support for the TFF action immediately after the Turkish football authority pulled Fenerbahce from the CL:
“The panel considered that the Turkish Football Federation took the right decision to protect the game, fully in line with our zero-tolerance policy against match-fixing.
“The Turkish Football Federation has shown with this decision that it takes its full responsibility in the fight against corruption.”
Five months later, contradicting an official UEFA statement on football, the General Secretary urged the TFF to take hasty action with the statement transpiring the day before a critical TFF assembly to determine whether to make changes to its current regulations - aiming to make them lighter, which the Fenerbahce club, which had been assigned the lead role in the match-fixing case although many other teams were also implicated, itself rejected.
Wondering why Mr. Infantino would be so visibly involved with his name frequently mentioned by the president and VP of a single Turkish club in particular, Galatasaray, we initiated research with our contacts in Italy, who wished to remain anonymous. Gianni Infantino seems to be close to Napoli and Milan clubs as well as some large corporations - albeit no official ties, often serving as an unofficial lobbyist or at least, conduit for these institutions. The UEFA general secretary is well-liked in Napoli and Milan while disliked in the Juventus community. Aware of his unpopularity by Juventus fans, Infantino reportedly displays an attitude toward the Turin side while leaning on the Milan clubs.
One of these Milan corporations appear to be Ansaldo Energia, with headquarters located in Genoa (about 75 miles from Milan) and offices in Milan. Our Italian contacts told us that the UEFA general secretary regularly attends Ansaldo Energia events. He was reportedly spotted at an Ansaldo Energia event at Hotel Principe di Savoia on Friday, February 10, 2012. Inter Milan President Massimo Moratti and former Italian footballer Paolo Maldini were also observed at the event.
The serious concern comes to play with Ansaldo Energia, which has started “a EUR 640 million contract to build and maintain a 865 MW CCGT plant in Turkey. The project is to be constructed by Ansaldo Energia under a performance-based, completion type contract and associated long term services. Ansaldo Energia is the minority shareholder with an investment of approximately EUR 86 million for 40% of the shares of the special purpose company Yeni Elektrik Uretim AS in partnership with the majority shareholder Unit Investment N.V.”
Unit Investment N.V. is owned and chaired by Unal Aysal, who also happens to be the president of the Galatasaray club in Turkey. Unal Aysal and the club VP Adnan Ozturk have been vociferous about the UEFA having to impose punishment on the club’s biggest rival , Fenerbahce.
To make matters worse, Ansaldo Energia is a company jointly controlled by Finmeccanica and First Reserve Corporation. Finmeccanica, a gigantic industrial company in the high technology sector, naturally seeks huge projects subject to approval by the Turkish government. The company sees Turkey as its “first and foremost an industrial partner rather than just a potential market. Over the years, close collaboration between Group companies and their Turkish counterparts has led to a solid industrial partnership that extends to the defense and security sectors as well as civil programmes. The activities range from helicopters for military and commercial applications to training and maritime patrol aircraft, radar (both air traffic control and air defense), communications systems, Earth Observation satellite systems, naval systems, urban trains and trams.“
One of these projects was Turkey’s $3.5 billion utility helicopter deal that the Italian conglomerate’s subsidiary AugustaWestland lost to the US firm Sikorsky Aircraft in April 2011. Widespread rumours at the time had it that Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim, a long-time NATO defense contractor, was a part of the consortium that eventually won the deal. He was told to withdraw by the Prime Minister, but refused. Though the dates - the tender took place on April 21 while Yildirim visited the PM on April 19 - do not go against the claims, we have not yet been successful in confirming these rumours. Nonetheless, there is the likelihood that the experienced Yildirim with long-time NATO relations with American companies may represent an obstacle in the way of pro-government entities seeking to be involved in such enormous projects.
In combination with the information about the potentially biased individuals inside the UEFA - including two who directly and perhaps illegally incriminated Fenerbahce SK - listed in a manifesto by the club’s fans that we have received, any possible decision coming out of the UEFA may first need to be meticulous and then to be scrutinized given the bizarre manner in which the Turkish match-fixing case has been handled by the European football authority since July 2011:
HOW ARE WE GOING TO TRUST?
THOSE WHO SAID THERE WAS NOT A 1% CHANCE OF BEING NOT VINDICATED…
THOSE WHO IMPOSED EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT ON FENERBAHÇE…
THOSE WHO SPREAD VIA THE MEDIA THE LIE THAT TURKEY AS A NATION WAS TO BE BANNED…
HOW ARE WE GOING TO TRUST ANY UEFA DECISION WHEN THE VERY SAME INDIVIDUALS ARE STILL ON YOUR COMMITTEES… WHEN COINCIDENTALLY , THEY ARE BOTH CONNECTED TO AND OPENLY SUPPORT GALATASARAY?
THOSE WHO CONSTANTLY LEAK INFORMATION TO THE MEDIA…
THOSE WHO HELP THE MEDIA MANIFACTURE NEWS OF FAKE THREATENING UEFA LETTERS…
HOW ARE WE GOING TO TRUST WHEN THOSE WHO ARE IN DISPUTE WITH FENERBAHÇE ARE STILL ON YOUR COMMITTEES?
WHY DID İLHAN HELVACI AND LÜTFİ ARIBOĞAN LEAVE THEIR POSTS AT THE TFF?
WERE THESE INDIVIDUALS NOT THE REASON FOR THE INITIATION OF THE CAS APPEAL?
THE FACT THAT THESE INDIVIDUALS ARE STILL IN POSITIONS OF DECISION-MAKING OR POSITIONS THAT AFFECT THE DECISIONS MADE ARE UNINTELLIGIBLE FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE…
AND NOW, A FORMER GALATASARAY PLAYER…
COMPLETING THE TEAM, WHICH NOW COVERS THE CONTROL AND DISCIPLINARY BODY, DISCIPLINARY INSPECTOR AND THE MARKETING ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
THE TRUTH AS TO WHY ALL NEWS ITEMS ABOUT THE UEFA IN THE MEDIA HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY WRITERS AND JOURNALISTS WHO ARE ARDENT GALATASARAY SUPPORTERS IS HIDDEN IN THESE NAMES…
THE REASON WHY THE GALATASARAY PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT ARE ALWAYS INFORMED ABOUT EVERYTHING LIES BEHIND THESE NAMES…
AN IMMEDIATE SOLUTION TO THIS DILEMMA WILL BE OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE FOR FENERBAHÇE’S 25 MILLION FANS TO RESPECT A POSSIBLE DECISION AND ACCEPT ITS VALIDITY…
OTHERWISE, ANY ARBITRARY DECISION THE UEFA REACHES WILL ALWAYS BE CONTROVERSIAL AND CERTAIN TO BE ETERNALLY CONTESTED AS THE 25 MILLION IN QUESTION WILL NEVER EVER GIVE UP SEEKING TRUE JUSTICE AND WILL SOONER OR LATER HOLD THE ERRANT DECISION MAKERS LEGALLY ACCOUNTABLE.
It appears that the opportunity to see whether the UEFA abides by its own words
“Fully respectful of the independence and autonomy of the national associations, UEFA cannot interfere with national internal matters. UEFA can of course and upon request, offer an advisory and supportive role, as long as it preserves the autonomy of the decision process of each of its members.”
or caters to the needs of extracurricular factors is on the horizon.
Lawsuits and the accompanying accountability may also be in sight.
Besiktas JK and Bursaspor excluded from UEFA competition for violation of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations
The UEFA Appeals Body has issued its decisions in the cases concerning Besiktas JK and Bursaspor, involving violation of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
The UEFA Appeals Body has today decided to exclude the Turkish club Besiktas JK from the next two UEFA club competitions for which it qualifies in the next five seasons, for violation of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations. The exclusion for the second competition is suspended for a probationary period of five years.
The Appeals Body met to rule on an appeal lodged by the UEFA Disciplinary Inspector against the decision of the Control and Disciplinary Body of 1 May and a cross-appeal filed by Besiktas. The cross-appeal was partially admitted. The fine of €500,000 imposed by the first instance is reduced to €200,000, of which €100,000 is suspended for a probationary period of five years.
At the same meeting, the appeal case of Turkish club Bursaspor was heard. The appeal was partially admitted. Bursaspor are excluded from one UEFA club competiton for which it qualifies in the next four seasons, for violation of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations. The cross-appeal of Bursaspor is partially admitted, and the fine of €200,000 is reduced to €50,000 suspended for a probationary period of four years.
These decisions are final subject to an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
The Turkish match fixing scandal reaches a further critical stage this week as the football federation and the government wait on events in court as they hope to find a way out of a morass largely of their own creation.
In July last year – and only after local elections had been safely undertaken – police raided homes and football club premises. They made 61 arrests in connection with 19 matches in the top two divisions.
The 61 included officials from champions Fenerbahçe and Istanbul rivals Besiktas. Most of the suspects were later released. Those held in custody from that day to this include Fenerbahce’s 59-year-old president Aziz Yildirim.
The following month the TFF shut out Fenerbahce from the Champions League and entered their on and off-field rivals Trabzonspor instead after UEFA demanded urgent clarification just ahead of the competition draw in Monte Carlo.
Since then a constantly-evolving sequence of events has added to the complexity of a farrago which has become almost unintelligible to outsiders
Fenerbahce, having had a protest rejected by UEFA, appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and demanded €45million compensation for lack of revenues. Subsequently Fenerbahce rejected what amounted to a ‘plea-bargain’ parliamentary directive that match fixing should be punished ‘only’ by a points deduction and not by relegation.
In March UEFA came to Istanbul for its annual congress. Michel Platini, the European federation’s president, took the opportunity for a private meeting with Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. Intriguingly, Erdogan hosted the meeting not in his governmental offices but at his AK political party headquarters.
During the meeting Platini was reported to have suggested to Erdogan that the Turkish domestic stand-off was an embarrassment for European football and did the image of the Turkish game no favours at an increasingly delicate time, politically.
Last week, suddenly, Fenerbahce withdrew its CAS appeal amid reports that the TFF would cough up most of the €45million. Simultaneously the TFF also took delivery of an internal report into the Fenerbahce case which effectively cleared the club of wrongdoing.
How this will play vis-à-vis the ongoing court case against Aziz Yildirim, a millionaire NATO defence contractor who has been Fenerbahce’s president since 1998, is open to question.
At least today/Monday, and on Thursday and Friday, public hearings in the court process will lay bare the strength or weakness of a prosecution case based heavily on the often contradictory evidence garnered from thousands of pages of transcripts of wire taps.
Supporters of Fenerbahce, a record 18-times champions and self-proclaimed ‘only independent sports club in the country’ claim the case was manipulated by political and commercial rivals of both Yildirim and the club itself.
Prosecutors insist that the Fenerbahce case arose as a consequence of investigations prompted by the Bochum football corruption trial in Germany which revealed the extent of a network of corruption on behalf of eastern European and south-east Asian gambling syndicates.
However the Fenerbahce and allied cases are all about match fixing in pursuit of competitive results, not betting coups.
The court action focuses on some 26 cases the top two Turkish divisions (as well as others in basketball). Fenerbahce links are alleged in 15 of the 19 top division cases of which five concern the grey area issue of so-called ‘third party bonuses.’
It might be considered unfortunate timing for Turkish sports officials and politicians that all these events have erupted just as Olympic president Jacques Rogge and – belatedly – football leaders such as FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA’s Platini have emerged suddenly as volubly active converts to the need to combat sports corruption worldwide.
Hence the manner in which the Turks deal with the Fenerbahce case will be viewed far beyond the country which bridges Europe and Asia through a prism of international sport self-righteousness.
A failure to take drastic punitive action, whether justified by the evidence or not, would risk portraying Turkey simplistically as seriously off-message … but tough action would inevitably prompt court and diciplinary appeals dragging on for many, many months. That could be equally self-defeating.
International credibility is at stake.
On one hand Turkey is the only credible candidate bidding to host football’s 2020 European Championship; on the other hand, Istanbul – with enthusiastic government support – is a serious contender to land the 2020 Olympic Games.
Both bids risk being damaged by the fall-out, either way, from the case against Fenerbahce (which has been, coincidentally, the largest provider of Olympic talent for Turkey at the Games down the years). At least this week’s court hearings should contribute a significant further piece of the jigsaw.
Truth to tell, far more is at stake here than ‘mere’ sport.
As for the increasing internal tension between the bids, that is a tale for another day …
Besiktas fans invade the pitch after scandalous refereeing at Besiktas Galatasaray Super final game
Galatasaray beat Besiktaş 2-0 away at Besiktas Inonu Stadium in their Super Final opener, which was initially postponed due to heavy rain on Saturday, but scandalous refereeing and pitch invasion by angry Besiktas fans marked the night.
The Super Final, the play-off system the Turkish Federation hoped to revive the Turkish Football and Turkish Super League saw a scandalous starting week.
Besiktas vs Galatasaray : A nonsense called Super Final
A highly controversial goal by Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo, very clearly in an offside position during a goalmouth scramble was the sign of bad things to occur. Felipe Melo, nicknamed ‘Pitbull,’ made the best of his nickname by assaulting his teammate Albert Riera last week, hospitalizing the Spanish midfielder.
However, Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim pardoned Felipe Melo, since his team badly needed the all-important ‘dog‘ in the playoffs.
Huseyin Gocek wearing Galatasaray jersey in the days he played basketball at Galatasaray
The referee, Huseyin Göcek, massacred the game and tempers of Besiktas fans
The referee of the game Hüseyin Göçek, whose photos appeared on Turkish media where he had a Galatasaray jersey on, proved that the concerns of Besiktas fans were not for nothing. Felipe Melo’s goal, clearly offside, was not the single mistake the referee committed during game.
Tempers flared with every passing minute as the referee made too many controversial calls and non-calls, virtually all of which went against Besiktas.
Besiktas fans invade the pitch to smite the ref and Galatasaray players
Then came the moment when Besiktas fans couldn’t handle their frustration. Besiktas Inönü stadium’s hell was unleashed on referee Hüseyin Göçek and on some provocative Galatasaray footballers led by Felipe ‘the dog’ Melo and former Arsenal player Eboue, whose antics in the most recent Besiktas vs Galatasaray derby at Inönü also caused altercations with Besiktas fans.
Several Besiktas fans invaded the pitch after 85th minute of the game as the result of their frustration not only in this game, but also in the two previous games vs Galatasaray in the regular season in which two disallowed goals from Besiktas and a last-second goal Galatasaray scored when it should have been called back due to an obvious foul.
The “nonsense” called the Super Final will continue with the Galatasaray Fenerbahce derby. The Super Final, highly unpopular among players and football fans, appears to have been imposed upon people for the broadcasters to make more money out of the “corruption” which is called Turkish Super League, a product of the Turkish Football Federation in cahoots with politics.