Three Turkish teams banned from Europe contest

Three Turkish teams banned from Europe contest

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Three Turkish teams banned from Europe contest

Beşiktaş winger Ricardo Quaresma looks dejected during a Spor Toto Super League game. Beşiktaş is likely to part ways with some of its stars, such as Quaresma, in order to offload its heavy wage bill in the wake of the European suspension. AA photo

three Turkish football clubs were banned from European competitions over financial irregularities yesterday.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has suspended Beşiktaş, Bursaspor and Gaziantepspor from European competitions for one year.

Turkish media reported Eskişehirspor would replace Beşiktaş in the European competition, but European football’s governing body has yet to announce whether other Turkish teams would replace Bursaspor in this year’s Europa League competition or not. Beşiktaş, which was scheduled to play in this year’s Europa League qualifiers after finishing fourth in the Turkish league, was hit with a ban for failing to pay its players regularly, the club lawyer said.

“The biggest reason for the ban was stated as the delays in payments to players,” lawyer Emin Özkurt told CNN Türk.

Beşiktaş was banned for one year and fined 200,000 euros due to financial problems at the Istanbul club.

Beşiktaş chairman Fikret Orman and the club’s lawyers attended a meeting with UEFA’s disciplinary committee for a second time yesterday after the club was earlier warned about its financial status and high debt.

Beşiktaş was found guilty of unpaid debts in the first hearing held May 1, but its two-year ban was postponed under the condition it did not acquire unpaid debts in the next five years. The club was also given a fine of 500,000 euros.

Following the UEFA inspector’s appeal, a second hearing was held and Beşiktaş’s two-year ban was cut down to a one-year ban, but would be sanctioned with immediate effect.

The move came after UEFA scrutinized Beşiktaş’s accounts in the second and third quarters of 2011 and ruled that they breached articles of the ruling body’s financial fair play regulations.

Shares in Beşiktaş tumbled more than 9 percent with the news, falling to 4.29 Turkish Liras, Anatolia news agency reported.

Beşiktaş said the club would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding the ban.

“We will defend the club’s rights until the end, and will appeal to CAS as the first step,” Levent Erdoğan, a lawyer and club board member, told Doğan news agency. Erdoğan said the ban was imposed because of decisions and actions that were made in the “previous administration.”

Orman was elected president of the Istanbul club earlier this year after Yıldırım Demirören left Beşiktaş to take over the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chair.

Beşiktaş’s financial situation was ridden with debt during Demirören’s spell. The current TFF chairman spent more than 100 million liras for the club, and left the club indebted to himself when leaving the post.

“We have 17 cases at UEFA and we made all the payments for our players before that hearing, but that was still not enough” Orman said. “This is devastating. I am not sorry for myself, I am sorry this has happened to a historic club such as Beşiktaş. These kind of things will not happen again at my helm.”

Bursaspor cries foul

Bursaspor, the 2010 Turkish champion, and Gaziantepspor were also hit with one-year bans.

Bursaspor, who was also set to play in the Europa League qualifiers after finishing fifth in the league, was left out of the European competition for failure to pay the fee for Zambian forward Collins Mbesuma. Mbesuma, who was signed from Portsmouth in the 2007-2008 season, has played just six games for Bursaspor.

Bursaspor chairman İbrahim Yazıcı reacted harshly to the UEFA ban.

“We were not supposed to face a ban. This is a murder of law,” Yazıcı said to Anatolia news agency, adding that the club would also appeal at CAS. “I cannot understand how a club without debt like Bursaspor can be hit with a ban. We believe that UEFA will return from its mistake.”

Gaziantepspor, which was also banned for financial irregularities, did not win European qualification this year and its ban will be imposed in the first season that it qualifies for continental cups.