ISTANBUL - Reuters
Fenerbahçe clinched their 19th Turkish league, equalizing with arch-foes Galatasaray. AA Photo
Fenerbahçe’s lackluster 0-0 draw at home to Çaykur Rizespor on April 27
wasn’t a game for the ages, but for the 50,000 women and children that
packed the club’s Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium, it was enough to provide
memories for the ages, as the single point was enough to clinch the
Yellow Canaries their 19th Turkish league title.
league with three games to spare sent fans into wild euphoria in
Istanbul and prompted players to dedicate the trophy to their chairman,
Aziz Yıldırım, and those who endured tear gas in solidarity protests for
“We have gone through a lot. I dedicate this
championship trophy to all those who were choked in tear gas and faced
accusations. This title is totally clean, just like the previous ones,”
defender Bekir İrtegün told journalists after the match.
championship will make us forget all the difficulties we had since [the
match-fixing allegations of 2011]. We dedicate the trophy to our
president, Aziz Yıldırım, who went to jail and is set to go again for
Fenerbahçe,” goalkeeper and captain Volkan Demirel said.
faces a probable return to prison after his appeal against a conviction
for match-fixing was rejected by a top court this month.
really a very special moment in my life. It's a great victory, not only
for me but the whole club. We are experiencing truly special feelings
after all the club went through," Fenerbahçe
forward Dirk Kuyt told
reporters, also referring to the match-fixing case hanging over the
Thousands of fans took to the streets to celebrate, waving
flags and singing songs while fireworks were seen exploding all over the
Coach Ersun Yanal, in his first year in charge
of Fenerbahçe, secured the title thanks to the outstanding performances
of African strikers Emmanuel Emenike, Moussa Sow and Pierre Webo.
am very proud of the team and thank everyone, especially our chairman.
We showed once again that Fenerbahce is pure and strong," Yanal told
Despite winning the league, Fenerbahçe
is banned from
European competition next year; in its place, the second-place finisher –
– will enter the group stage of the UEFA
In the end, the draw against the Black Sea
side was entirely unnecessary, as Beşiktaş’s simultaneous 3-0
capitulation away to Sivasspor confirmed Fener as champions regardless
of the result of the Canaries’ fixture.
The game against Rizespor
was played in a stadium packed with women and children under the age of
12 due to adult males being banned following crowd trouble in previous