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Friday, May 21, 2010

News around Turkish football including Fenerbahçe’s punishment

The images of the aftermath in Fenerbahçe's Şükrü Saracoğlu stadium after the events of this past Sunday sickened and shocked many Turkish football fans. With Fenerbahçe supporters burning seats and getting into scuffle with the police while chanting for the Fenerbahçe board to resign, many seemed to shake their heads and some fans of rivals Galatasaray and Beşiktaş mocked them. The TFF handed down Fenerbahçe's punishment on Friday. Fenerbahçe will be playing their first two home games next season behind closed doors. With schedule's alternating week to week between home and away matches, Fenerbahçe now runs the risk of playing a derby match between Galatasaray, Beşiktaş or possibly both, behind closed doors. This sort of punishment harkens back to the 2007-08 season. That year, Galatasaray had to play their first five home matches behind closed doors. This was because of Galatasaray fans throwing foreign objects onto the field against Fenerbahçe at the Ali Sami Yen stadium. This match happened the week after Fenerbahçe had clinched the title in the 2006-07 season the previous week before the derby. Some may see this as a slap on the wrist punishment, but considering that this deals with an Istanbul big three club, and that none of the players were on the receiving end of the anger of the Fenerbahçe fans, it's not surprising that the TFF may have let Fenerbahçe off easy.

There have been some coaching changes for Turkish teams this past week. Gaziantepspor released their manager Jose Couceiro from his contract. While it was a disappointing season for Gaziantepspor, Couceiro tried to make due with what he had at his disposal. But with a disappointing 13th place finish in the standings, Gaziantepspor decided to make a change. The man replacing Couceiro is former Sivasspor manager Bulent Uygun, signing a two year contract with Gaziantepspor. Uygun may be best known for leading Sivasspor to second place in the 2008-09 season, in which Sivasspor slipped from title contention in the waning moments of that season, after holding the lead for many weeks. The previous season before that, he led Sivasspor to fourth place. In the 2009-10 season, Sivasspor did not get off to a good start, and he resigned on October 4, 2009 after a 2-0 win against Antalyaspor. Uygun is known for being a bit of a hothead, and he'll have to keep his temper in control because he will experience growing pains while with a new club. After Tolunay Kafkas left his post with his contract expiring, Shota Arveladze signed a two year contract with Kayserispor, who finished 8th this season, to become their new manager. Arveladze, who previously was the assistant coach at AZ Alkmaar, takes over his first managerial job on July 1st. This is an interesting hire for Kayserispor, considering that Arveladze is still popular in Turkey, especially in Trabzon where he played for Trabzonspor, and that he is inexperienced when it comes to the top job. Kayserispor should be looked upon as one of the teams to watch in the upcoming season, for either the right or wrong reasons. This will depend on their transfers for the upcoming season.

The Turkish national team recently arrived in the United States for their three friendly matches. Emre Aşık ve Okan Buruk will be making their final appearance in a Turkish national team uniform against the Czech Republic on May 22nd. Both men were part of the 2002 World Cup team that finished in third place. The match, to be held in Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, will have about 18,000 Turkish fans attending. This is due to the Fenerbahçe USA fans association buying those tickets and distributing them to fan associations of Galatasaray and Beşiktaş located in the US. This marks, according to Major League soccer and its marketing arm, Soccer United Marketing, the largest group purchase of tickets associated with the league and its marketing group. This also coincides with the annual Turkish Day Parade and Festival in New York, organized by the Federation of Turkish American Associations, which the players will attend.

In concordance with the USA-Turkey connection, according to Turkish sports daily Fanatik, that Heath Pearce, currently playing for FC Dallas in Major League Soccer, is rumored to be watched, and potentially signed, by current Turkcell Super League champions Bursaspor. Pearce had been previously signed by Bursaspor last year. However, the FIFA transfer deadline had passed when the contract was signed, and in turn, Pearce signed with FC Dallas. In the same article, Fanatik also reports that Pearce himself is interested in signing. Pearce could potentially shore up a good defensive line for Bursaspor, and be able to play in at least six games in the Champions League group stages. He'd be joining a club in which the league they play in is pretty physical, but has the opportunity to establish a new revolution in Turkish football, if Bursaspor's historic championship hasn't done that already.

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