“Earthquake with world-class match fixers! A nightmare expects FC Vaslui when they’ll play Fenerbahce” – This is the title that created a huge scandal in Turkey, after the article written by Gazeta Sporturilor was presented by the Istanbul media outlets. I cannot know what the Turkish press wrote, but I can guess that they’ve speculated a title that is bombastic as usual and, again as usual, has little to do with the article itself.
I’ll go through the piece, with an accurate translation / presentation of each phrase:
“Rocked by a match fixing scandal in the previous season and with one title won in the last five seasons, Vaslui’s opponent compensates with the fantastic atmosphere on Sukru Sarioglu and the stars Kuyt, Topal and Alex.
Fener was excluded last season from the Champions League by UEFA, but now enters the competition as runners-up in the Turkish league. The coach Aykut Kocaman rotated the team’s stars this summer: the loans of Ziegler and Yobo ended, Emre went to Atletico Madrid and Dia plays now in Qatar, but in Istanbul arrived the likes of Mehmet Topal, Dirk Kuyt and Kaldirim.
The top veterans create a tsunami at home
The team’s spine is formed by players that are already established: the keeper Demirel, 55 caps for Turkey, the Brazilian captain Alex, the Senegalese Sow, brought from Lille for 8,8 mil. Euros, plus other three players with around 100 games for Fener each: Senturk, Topuz and Selcuk. Not to mention the Slovakian talent Stoch, who comes from Chelsea.
At home, Fener is like an unleashed beast, with just one defeat in the last 32 official games and can impose a terrible pace to the game: under Kocaman, there’s an average of 2,1 goals scored per match.
Statements from Marius Sumudica and Adrian Porumboiu follow, both praising Fenerbahce’s strength and support.
Below, a presentation of what follows if Vaslui manages to go through or if the Romanian side will be eliminated.
The article ends with some info on Fenerbahce, as follows: Kocaman is in charge since 2010, while Vaslui changed 3 coaches since then; the Kadikoy area from Istanbul has 700.000 people, 10 times more than the entire city of Vaslui; “The yellow and black hell” has been built in 1908 and improved in 1999; Fener won 18 titles, while Vaslui has spent only 7 years in the Romanian first division”.
As you can see, apart from the title – which might not even belong to the author – and an objective, based on facts, mention about the match fixing scandal, the article praises Fener’s strength and shows the big gap between the two teams that will meet in the Champions League’s preliminary rounds… Still, that title was enough for the Turkish media to blow everything out of proportion and if my Twitter feed has been “on fire” on this topic, you can imagine what happens on Turkish forums…
The Fenerbahce fans are very angry about this and, as usual, several scenarios have appeared. It goes from “it’s an article paid by Galatasaray’s board” to “I’ve heard that the editor of that website is the nephew of Gica Popescu, who played for Galatasaray”. Popescu, who is only in his early 40’s…
So this is what a stupid, bombastic title in Romania – who, by the way, has had for years a league where match fixing has been quite a common practice! – speculated by the Turkish media can do to Fener’s fans, who are talking about the un-finished trial, the effect on the stock exchange, the reactions of their rival fans and, of course, “a real crime”, without realizing that they are tricked – once again – by the press, who remains desperate to make everything it takes to gather more clicks and to sell more papers…
Matteo Gritti and Idan Baruch have caught the spotlight after only two rounds played in 2012 in the Romanian top tier, but for the wrong reasons. Both goalkeepers have signed for struggling clubs and their “performances” managed to affect not only their teams’ results, but also their image.
The Italian Gritti, who plays for Petrolul Ploiesti, let in four goals in 180 minutes, against top opponents like Vaslui (1-2, at home) and Rapid (0-2, away), but those received on Sunday evening, in Bucharest, have been related to a story that accuses the 31 years of match fixing. Swiss journalists insist that the outcome of the match was already decided and that the player is part of a network that influences the outcome of games for betting purposes and that an investigation is taking place for months on this topic.
Gritti’s performances cannot be compared though to what the Concordia’s keeper, Baruch, did against FC Vaslui, after a good first performance against Otelul Galati, won against the former champions with 1-0. The goalie from Israel – who last season played in Romania’s second division for FC Snagov, a team suspected of dirty business after some very strange results & high scoring games – offered a rare “show” and allowing three goals in 45 minutes… These images need no more comments. Ok, maybe one: if both scenarios are true, Baruch really needs to start learning from Gritti, otherwise he’ll have a hard time making a career…
Well, this can only happen in Romania: a Dutch coach, with an excellent reputation, who comes here to save a team from relegation, is accused of something Romanian players, referees, club officials and club owners are doing on a regular basis! That’s why foreign coaches and players should think twice before saying yes to an offer to come here.
In Romania, football is a mud fight – and I’m not referring to the muddy pitches 😉 – once you’re in, it’s impossible to come out clean!
PS For those interested in Craiova’s scenario (who offered it to the press, putting more pressure on a coach that should get a lot of money, if sacked), Wotte has been accused that before the game against International (lost 1-3, at home) he went to a meeting with people close to International’s owner, Benone Lazar. Wotte is currently suspended, which means that he’s still under contract, but not allowed to train the players and sit on the bench, with veteran midfielder Eugen Trica and Craiova’s legendary player Ilie Balaci taking care of things until the end of the season.