Beşiktaş fans forced to choose between basketball and football

Beşiktaş fans forced to choose between basketball and football

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Beşiktaş fans forced to choose between basketball and football

Beşiktaş forward Cevher Özer slam dunks in a game. Beşiktaş basketball team is close to advancing to the Top 16 stage in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. AA photo

Beşiktaş fans are left to choose between their football and basketball teams as their games have been scheduled at the same time.

Beşiktaş’s basketball team will host Germany’s Brose Baskets Bamberg in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, while the football team welcomes Akhisar in the Spor Toto Super League. Both matches in Istanbul start at 8 p.m., with the football team playing at İnönü Stadium in the Beşiktaş district, while the basketball team is playing at the Abdi İpekçi Arena in Zeytinburnu.

Fans of the team hit out at the Turkish Football Federation’s (TFF) decision to place the fixture, which was announced earlier this week, on a date to coincide with the basketball game.

Burası Kapalı, a popular fan blog, put a banner criticizing the TFF decision on its opening page.

“You have figured that out very well,” said a sarcastic banner in front of a picture of TFF chairman Yıldırım Demirören, who ran the Beşiktaş presidency for eight years before taking over the national football’s governing body’s hot seat.

Beşiktaş reportedly applied to change the football match’s date, but it was refused by the TFF. The usual practice of the TFF is to place the games of “the big four” on each night from Friday to Monday on every match day. Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, who played European cup matches midweek, are scheduled to play on Nov. 24 and Nov. 25 respectively. Trabzonspor will play on Nov. 26.

“There is no explanation for this but that the Turkish Football Federation wants to have fun with Beşiktaş fans,” sports writer Nilay Yılmaz said on NTV Spor website. “Oh wait, there is another one, which is that [the TFF] is deciding the fixtures off the top of its head.”

Yılmaz then noted that there were special offers for Beşiktaş fans who bought season tickets for both the football and the basketball teams. “There are many Beşiktaş fans who follow both football and basketball matches.”

Beşiktaş is on a good run in both competitions. The basketball team is on course for making it to the Top 16 stage, while the football team has not lost in its five matches, and has been scoring freely.

In the Euroleague’s Group D, Beşiktaş is sitting third, behind title contenders CSKA Moscow and Barcelona Regal. The Black Eagles have three wins in six matches, one better than fourth Brose Baskets, so a win tonight will virtually guarantee a place for them in the next round. Beşiktaş won the two teams’ first meeting 86-71 in Germany on Oct. 18.

At home, Beşiktaş has been creating electric atmospheres, when not hassled by the federation’s timing mistakes.

“Like all our games this is an important one for us,” Brose Baskets guard John Goldsberry said on the Euroleague website. “It will be a tough atmosphere for sure, but we are sure that we can play in tough atmospheres after we played in Partizan a couple of weeks ago.”

At İnönü Stadium, Beşiktaş will try to get a win to climb higher in the Super League.

Beşiktaş is fifth with 19 points and has the chance to match the leader Galatasaray for the first time this season with a win.

Relegation-battling Akhisar has 10 points and is 16th in the 18-team division.