Basketball derby starts controversy before tip-off
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Fenerbahçe beat Galatasaray in last season’s Turkish league finals series.Turkish sports’ fiercest rivals will renew their rivalry on the basketball court tonight.
Fenerbahçe Ülker will host Galatasaray Medical Park in the last big game of the year in the Beko Basketball League.
It never lacks tension when the two rivals meet, just like when they played against each other in last season’s finals series, and tonight’s match has already stirred controversy. The appointment of official Recep Ankaralı created furor among Galatasaray fans, since the experienced referee was one of the names that were included in the match-fixing indictment released earlier this month.
The indictment for the match-fixing investigation, mainly focused on the manipulation of last year’s football league games, contained a purported conversation between Ankaralı and Fenerbahçe Ülker official Semih Özsoy during the finals series last season.
The conversations included Özsoy complaining to Ankaralı about one of his foul calls against a Fenerbahçe Ülker player during last year’s finals series to which Ankaralı responded, “Don’t worry about it.”
Fenerbahçe Ülker won the best-of-seven series four games to two.
Following the appointment’s announcement, Galatasaray fans took it to social media websites to criticize Ankaralı and Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF) Chairman Turgay Demirel.
The two teams’ rivalry mostly stems from their meetings in football, but the year 2011 saw Galatasaray remember its former glories and advance to the finals series for the first time in two decades.
Since Fenerbahçe Ülker is already the best team in the country in recent history with four titles in five years, the two teams’ meetings on the basketball court got all the more heated.
The Lions are second behind Efes in the League while Fener is fifth.
The game at Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem Dome starts at 8 p.m.