Fener left fuming over UEFA’s testimony U-turn
Emin Özkurt, a lawyer of Fenerbahçe Sports Club, criticized UEFA after the European football’s governing body retracted its inspector Pierre Cornu’s (pictured) testimony.European football’s governing body perceives law like a “children’s toy,” Fenerbahçe lawyer Emin Özkurt said Jan. 12 after it was announced that UEFA inspector Pierre Cornu’s testimony in a key case had been retracted.
Özkurt criticized the fact that the testimony Cornu made to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding the case of the Turkish football team’s exclusion from the Champions League was retracted.
“Law is not a children’s toy. You cannot retract testimony and say, ‘I take it back and will give something else.’ That is impossible,” Özkurt told private broadcaster CNN Türk.
“I want to explain this detached from legal jargon. UEFA basically says: ‘I made a statement through my own inspector, Cornu. Now I want this to be completely disqualified. I want to take it back.’ That is like trying to make a fool of both CAS members and the Turkish sports community,” he said.
Spor Toto Super League titleholder Fenerbahçe has opened a case seeking a total of 45 million euros in compensation after the team was barred from playing in this season’s Champions League due to its alleged involvement in a match-fixing scandal. Fenerbahçe’s exclusion came in August just days after Cornu visited Turkish Football Federation (TFF) officials and prepared a report regarding the club’s situation. Fenerbahçe has said it was wronged by its exclusion from the top-level club competition in Europe and added that statements from Cornu and the TFF did not match each other.
Daily Hürriyet reported Jan. 13 that Cornu testified that he wrote a report against Fenerbahçe after being “informed by TFF Vice Chairman Lutfi Arıboğan and chief legal consultant İlhan Helvacı.”
On Nov. 29, Fenerbahçe Vice Chairman Ali Koç blamed the two TFF members for giving information on the match-fixing case while it was still listed as confidential and leading Cornu to recommend the club’s exclusion without abiding by the universal rule of the presumption of innocence.
“We will apologize to the TFF members if Cornu’s testimony was not true,” Koç then said in a press conference.
A day after Koç’s statement, TFF Chairman Mehmet Ali Aydınlar called the Fenerbahçe official to apologize since “Cornu’s testimony was not true.”
Turkish league runner-up Trabzonspor was allowed to compete in the Champions League in place of Fenerbahçe after the latter was barred from the competition.
Four members of the Fener board are currently jailed pending trial, while a total of 93 football club officials, players and coaches from eight clubs are suspects in the case.