Istanbul (AFP) – Istanbul giants Besiktas on Tuesday lodged an appeal against a ruling by Turkish football authorities to resume a match against city rivals Fenerbahce at the point where it had been abandoned due to crowd trouble.
The match, a Turkish Cup semi-final second leg at Fenerbahce’s ground on April 19, was abandoned in the 57th minute after Besiktas coach Senol Gunes was hit by an object hurled out of the stands.
The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) last week ordered the match to resume on Thursday “from the time it stopped”, behind closed doors with the scores level.
But Besiktas maintained they should have been awarded an automatic victory, blaming Fenerbahce for the violence and saying their team would not turn up to the resumption.
Besiktas board member and top legal representative Safak Mahmutyazicioglu told Anadolu news agency the team had lodged an appeal with the TFF, offering a new way out of the impasse.
“If the outcome to the appeal is not in our favour our decision will remain in place and we will not take to the field on May 3,” he said.
Turkish media had reported that the issue had grown to such importance that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had personally contacted Besiktas chairman Fikret Orman urging him to reverse the decision on boycotting the restart of the match.
However Besiktas issued a statement saying the reports were “totally unfounded” and “lies”.
If Besiktas do not play Thursday, Fenerbahce would be declared the winners by default and automatically go into the final.
Besiktas supporters, many of whom are famously anti-establishment, claim an official bias exists against their side although the authorities reject this.
Adding to the club’s late-season woes, Besiktas were on Sunday beaten 2-0 by their other main Istanbul rivals Galatasaray in what may be a mortal blow to their title ambitions.
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