Why Beşiktaş Forfeit $1M And Its Right To Play In The Turkish Cup

Beşiktaş is one of Turkey’s greatest clubs, having won 15 Turkish Super League titles, most recently in 2017. The Black Eagles have won nine Turkish Cups and eight Turkish Super Cups. But the club chose to throw away a chance at the next two Turkish Cups by choosing not to show up for a match on Thursday — and many have applauded the Beşiktaş forfeit. 

Beşiktaş was set to replay the final 33 minutes of the semifinal second leg against Istanbul rival Fenerbahçe after that match had been abandoned on April 19. Instead, Beşiktaş protested and did not show up to Fenerbahçe’s Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium. Instead the club trained for its match against Kayserispor on Sunday.

The Turkish Football Federation responded by fining Beşiktaş 4 million Turkish lira ($950,000) and expelling the club from both this year’s competition and next season’s.

“Beşiktaş made a difficult decision,” Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman said. “I would have preferred to lose instead of winning this way.”

Beşiktaş forfeit

An empty Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium after the Beşiktaş forfeit. Photo: @anadoluagency | Twitter

So why did Beşiktaş forfeit instead of fight for a spot in the Turkish Cup final? Because the club felt Fenerbahçe was not appropriately punished for what happened the first time the two teams took the pitch for the second leg.

After a 2-2 draw in the first leg at Beşiktaş’s Vodafone Park, a tense atmosphere grew worse at Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium when Beşiktaş was reduced to 10 men due to a rash challenge from Pepe. In the 57th minute with the score tied 0-0, the referee abandoned the match when Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş was struck by an object from the stands. Güneş was taken to the hospital and received five stitches. 

After some deliberation, the TFF ruled last week the remainder of the match would be played back at Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, albeit behind closed doors. Fenerbahçe was also fined one million lira (about $240,000) and will be required to play its next three home matches without fans. 

Beşiktaş clearly felt Fenerbahçe should been forced to forfeit the match and thus appealed the decision. That appeal was rejected on Wednesday, which led to the Beşiktaş forfeit on Thursday. 

Fenerbahçe will now play in the final against Akhisarspor, which knocked off Galatasaray in the semifinals 3-2 on aggregate. The final will be played in New Diyarbakır Stadium in Diyarbakır, far from Istanbul. 

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