HomeFootballIcardi scores for Galatasaray, Fenerbahce U19s walk off: Explaining the Turkish Super...

Icardi scores for Galatasaray, Fenerbahce U19s walk off: Explaining the Turkish Super Cup forfeit | Sporting News United Kingdom


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The rearranged Turkish Super Cup encounter between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce ended in a widely anticipated farce on Sunday.

Fenerbahce are in dispute with the Turkish Football Federation and had asked for the match in Sanliurfa to be postponed.

This request was refused and Fener responded by fielding players from their under-19 squad against Istanbul rivals Galatasaray.

Former Inter and PSG striker Mauro Icardi gave Gala a first-minute lead and before the restart, Fenerbahce’s players left the field to a hail of boos to forfeit the contest.

Galatasaray were crowned champions and played out a friendly against their reserve team to give fans a spectacle of sorts.

So how did a showpiece occasion featuring two of the biggest rivals in European club football descend into nonsense?

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Why did Fenerbahce forfeit the Turkish Super Cup?

Fenerbahce asked for the game, which had been scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia in December, to be postponed because they face Olympiacos in a UEFA Europa League quarterfinal this Thursday (April 11).

This request was refused along with, according to Goal Turkey, Fener’s proposal that overseas officials take charge of the match.

These ill-fated attempts at diplomacy came amid a backdrop of strained relations between the 28-time Turkish champions and the game’s national administrators.

In March, Fenerbahce’s players were attacked by Trabzonspor fans who invaded the field after a 3-2 win. The club considered withdrawing from the Super Lig as a result but decided against this course of action after a meeting with club members.

“In all our meetings, the least preferred option was to withdraw from the league,” Fenerbahce president Ali Koc said, as translated by Goal. “The reason why this option is not wanted is that people think we would have to deal in the lower league with the same things we deal with here. We are taking this option off the table until the general assembly at the end of the season.”

Ructions between the Turkish Football Federation and Fener look set to run and run. When confirming his club’s intentions to boycott the Super Cup, vice-president Erol Bilecik announced Fenerbahce had also requested not to take part in the Turkish Cup for the next two seasons.

Why was the Turkish Super Cup rearranged? 

The weekend controversy would likely have been avoided entirely had the game simply gone ahead as planned, free of any fixture congestion and bad feeling.

Saudi Arabia was set to host the Turkish Super Cup on December 29, 2023, with Turkey following the likes of Spain and Italy by taking one of its showpiece fixtures to the Middle East country.

The date also coincided with the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic. Fenerbahce and Galatasaray wanted to pay tribute to their nation’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk with banners in the stadium and t-shirts bearing his image.

Saudi organisers denied this request and the game was cancelled. Before Sunday’s bizarre spectacle, Galatasaray’s players warmed up in Ataturk t-shirts.

The fallout form the Super Cup debacle will provide a backdrop to a tense title race between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce. With seven games of the season remaining, Gala lead second-placed Fener by just two points.

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