Fenerbahçe captain Emre Belözoğlu receives jail time for racist remarks
Aziz Özen ISTANBUL
The judge stated Belözoğlu committed the crime of insulting then-Trabzonspor player Zokora’s 'religion, language, race, ethic roots, gender and sect.'Fenerbahçe footballer Emre Belözoğlu has received a jail sentence of two-and-half months, by an Istanbul court, for racist remarks towards Ivorian Didier Zokora during an April 15, 2012 league game.
The judge stated Belözoğlu committed the crime of insulting then-Trabzonspor player Zokora’s “religion, language, race, ethic roots, gender and sect.”
Zokora’s lawyers said even a basic search on the Internet would show some 130,000 cases of Belözoğlu’s antics, as he was a notorious player for his aggressive on-field behavior. They also quoted the player himself as saying – in a former interview – that he was facing anger management problems and was receiving professional help for the matter at the time.
Belözoğlu will not serve jail time, but will be on probation for five years, as the court ruled this was his first instance of such a crime and he was not likely to repeat it.
Belözoğlu had said in his defense that he did not use any racist words toward Zokora, but had instead called him a “f.cking prick.”
“I have never felt racism in my heart,” he had said.
Belözoğlu had been investigated in two separate cases of racial abuse before being cleared. Both cases occurred in 2007, when he was playing for Newcastle United. The first involved a trio of Everton players, Tim Howard, Joleon Lescott and Joseph Yobo, while the second centered on England-based Sierra Leonean midfielder Al Bangura.