Fener rues power shift in the game
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman stages an unexpected outburst, saying that referees stand by the stronger side, alleging that his side is on the losing side of a power shift recently. Kocaman’s remarks came in the wake of a 1-1 Spor Toto Super League draw against Orduspor. AA photoFenerbahçe was held to a 1-1 draw by Orduspor in the Spor Toto Super League on Jan. 4, but the main talking point of the night was not the game, but coach Aykut Kocaman’s claims after the final whistle.
The defending Super League champion slid four points behind leader Galatasaray in the standings, but the main slip was not only about the points tally, coach Kocaman said.
“There is a process of referees subtly working [against us] starting with the Sivasspor game [on Nov. 4],” Kocaman said after the game. “There is a power shift and the referees well understood that power loss. I am saying this clearly, there was a power shift.”
Kocaman implications concerned the position the club was left in following the match-fixing investigation which risks the club relegated for the first time in its history. After the investigation went public on July 3, four top-level club officials, including influential chairman Aziz Yıldırım, were jailed pending trial. Four officials are among the 93 suspects listed in the match-fixing indictment and they are charged with several allegations, including paying incentives to rival teams, influencing Turkish Football Federation (TFF) administration and referees and manipulating matches.
The investigation is still ongoing, but Kocaman claims his team has already been victimized.
Fenerbahçe goalkeeper Volkan Demirel similarly complained about refereeing after the game, saying that official Tolga Özkalfa made “all the calls in favor of the home team,” to echo a decade-old Turkish football cliché that has been uttered by many players from minnow teams when facing a superior team.
Fenerbahçe is one of Turkey’s top three most decorated clubs and usually boasts about being a “republic” in itself, with its fan based believed to be around 20 million. Orduspor, however, has returned to the top-flight after 26 years.
At the start of the season, Fenerbahçe was forced to sell several key players due their blockage from playing in the lucrative Champions League following a decision imposed by the TFF, but even the value of the squad it has remains four times the value of Orduspor. According to the figures of prominent German website transfermarkt.de, Fenerbahçe’s squad is worth 122 million euros, which is a far cry from Orduspor’s 31 million euros.
With the draw, Orduspor ended its seven-week losing streak, but more importantly, it provided the good start Argentine coach Hector Cuper was looking for.
The veteran coach arrived in Turkey earlier this week to take over Orduspor and started with a draw.
“I congratulate everyone at the team, it was a good performance,” Cuper said in the post-game conference. “We were the better side today and I hope that we improve day-by-day.”