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Turkey rejects Besiktas appeal on abandoned Istanbul derby

Istanbul (AFP) – Turkish football authorities on Wednesday rejected an appeal by Istanbul giants Besiktas against a ruling 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.

The TFF said in a statement that it had examined the appeal by Besiktas and voted to reject the request.

Its decision means that unless there is a last minute change of mind, Fenerbahce will have to show up for the game, confirm Besiktas have boycotted the fixture, and then be awarded a 3-0 walkover for the rival team not turning up.

In the Turkish Cup final, they would face Akhisar who surprisingly knocked out Galatasaray in the other semi final.

The TFF indicated that the fixture was going ahead as scheduled Thursday naming Mete Kalkavan, the same official who refereed the abandoned April derby, as referee and confirming it would begin at 1730 GMT.

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”.

Besiktas supporters, many of whom are famously anti-establishment, claim an official bias exists against their side although the authorities reject this.

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