The final series of the Turkish TBL has been plunged into chaos just two days before the seventh and decisive game between Fenerbahce and Galatasaray. The two rivals have battled to a 3-3 series tie after Galatasaray claimed an 85-77 home win to send the series to an all or nothing game. However, it seems that Galatasaray has now taken the unprecedented decision to not play the final game and will instead forfeit the title.
Incredibly the board of the club unanimously voted for the team to drop out of the TBL final in protest for earlier problems in the series. Galatasaray says the decision has been reached due to the actions of the Turkish Basketball Federation, making this about as extreme as protests can get. Effectively the club is attempting to hurt the federation by killing the series (and potential revenue) at its most important point.
Galatasaray’s issue stems back to Game 2 of the series between the Istanbul giants. In that game Fenerbahce claimed a last gasp winner as Bo McCalebb scored with the final shot of the game, but there was a foul in the build up to that basket on Gala’s Manuchar Markoishvili. That resulted in ugly scenes inside Fenerbahce’s Sinan Erdem Sports Hall, with Galatasaray coach Ergin Ataman saying “that game was stolen”.
Indeed it may have been, but the Turkish Basketball Federation did not take kindly to the subsequent riots by Galatasaray fans. The organization banned Galatasaray fans from the clubs’ Abdi Ipecki Arena in Game 3, eventually cooling the punishment to allow 5,000 women and children into the venue. Similar events later transpired in Game 5, but this time it was the Fenerbahce fans at fault, although the Turkish Federation did not mete out punishment.
The Galatasaray hierarchy is clearly unhappy enough about what it perceives to be double standards to drop out of the decisive Game 7. With the game set for the 19th June, the TBL has a short time to convince the club to change its stance, but considering the whole board agreed the decision it seems unlikely. So instead of ending in fireworks, the 2013/2014 Turkish TBL will end with a whimper, and Galatasaray has taken the bold decision to deny a chance of claiming glory.