Galatarasay boycotts final game, Fenerbahçe clinches basketball league title
Fenerbahçe Ülker players enjoy the title with fans at their home Ülker Arena after the referee’s decision to postpone the game. AA photoFenerbahçe Ülker clinched its sixth Turkish league title as arch-rival Galatasaray failed to show up to the last game of the final series in protest at the “double standards” of the Turkish Basketball Federation.
Galatasaray Liv Hospital players did not take the court against Fenerbahçe until 9:15 p.m., 15 minutes after the official starting time of the seventh game, leading referees to suspend the game.
The federation said on its website that Galatasaray would be fined in accordance with regulations, leading to speculation that the match will be declared 20-0 in favor of the Yellow Canaries. The federation is still expected to elaborate on its final decision in the near future.
Fenerbahçe players, managers and administrators, including President Aziz Yıldırım, joined a celebration after the referees’ decision.
The Galatasaray board had unanimously decided to boycott the game only hours after the federation announced Fenerbahçe Ülker had been fined 40,000 Turkish Liras for incidents in the fifth game of the final series at the Ülker Arena, instead of banning Fener fans from the last game. Galatasaray Chairman Ünal Aysal accused the TBF of “being the puppets of dark circles” over the decision.
“The ruling to have a game played with spectators, in spite of putting the lives of our players and the technical staff in danger, is a betrayal to Turkish sports,” Aysal said in a televised statement.
Galatasaray Liv Hospital beat Fenerbahçe Ülker 85-77 on June 16 at the Abdi İpekçi Arena to tie the series at 3-3, and the last game was scheduled to be played at Fenerbaçe’s court on June 19.
Only women accompanied by children younger than 14 years old were allowed to watch the June 16 game at the Abdi İpekçi Arena due to a ban imposed on Galatasaray by the TBF for fan trouble. Speaking after game, Galatasaray coach Ergin Ataman claimed his life would be at risk at the Ülker Arena.
Fenerbahçe announced its title on its official website, also publishing photos of the team and coach Zeljko Obradovic during a celebration dinner after the never-played game.
Fenerbahçe spokeperson Mahmut Uslu has accused Galatasaray administrators of incompetence in a speech politicizing the disagreement.
“They are speaking of June 17. Their largest problem is not June 17, but Dec. 17 ,” he said in an open reference to a large corruption case launched on Dec. 17 last year, covering the sons of three Cabinet ministers, along with a group of civil servants. This is a new era in which Galatasaray will not be able to manipulate the league as it did years ago, he said. “Now there is a new government, a new prime minister, a new minister. Those days are gone,” he said.