Trabzon hopes to leave rigging claims behind
Trabzonspor is second in Champions League Gorup B behind Inter with six points, holding a one-point advantage over Lille and CSKA Moscow. REUTERS photoTrabzonspor will try to advance to the knockout rounds of the Champions League for the first time in club history when it meets Lille tonight.
A draw could be enough to get the Black Sea Storm through to the next round if Inter avoids defeat at CSKA Moscow.
Inter has already won Group B with 10 points. Trabzonspor is second with six points, holding a one-point advantage over Lille and CSKA Moscow, which hold third and fourth, respectively.
Trabzonspor started the group with a famous victory at Inter, but only collected three points from their next four fixtures; nonetheless, the team remains in the drivers’ seat in the race for second spot.
The Black Sea Storm, however, have failed to win since a 2-1 home victory against Kayserispor on Nov. 6, drawing twice and losing another in their subsequent league matches.
Trabzonspor was a last-minute addition to the competition following a Turkish Football Federation (TFF) decision to bar Fenerbahçe, which is at the center of a gripping match-fixing investigation.
An indictment into the case was released on the weekend, leveling accusations against 93 suspects, including three Trabzonspor officials.
“We were not given a written notice about that, but out of respect for the laws, we will not attend the game,” Şener told Anatolia news agency. “I can watch the match from the television in the hotel.”
However, Trabzonspor’s involvement in the allegations may lead to an immediate ban from the competition, even if the team records a win tonight.
“The file is no longer listed as confidential since the release of the indictment, and UEFA, like anyone else, can reach the documents and allegations, and it is highly likely that a disciplinary process will start,” Faruk Baştürk, an expert on Sports Law, was quoted as saying in daily Radikal. “And it is quite possible that teams that are currently playing in European competitions will be expelled.”
Trabzonspor, along with Beşiktaş in the Europa League, is one of two Turkish teams competing in continental tournaments. Beşiktaş is involved in the allegations as well, and three of its members, including coach Tayfur Havutçu, are jailed pending trial.
Still, Trabzonspor could very well pick up a win against the French champions.
Lille looked doomed after picking up just two points from its first four matches, but an away win at CSKA Moscow made the French club a favorite to qualify from Group B with Inter Milan.
“We owe it to ourselves to win and carry on in this competition,” said Lille midfielder Florent Balmont.
Additional reports from AA and AP were used in this story.