Sanctions for incidents during Turkey v Switzerland pronounced final
The legal proceedings relating to the incidents during the decisive World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Switzerland in Istanbul on 16 November have been closed. During a meeting in Berlin on 24 June, the FIFA Appeal Committee reduced the sanctions originally imposed on the Turkish football association, Swiss player Benjamin Huggel and Turkish player Belozoglu Emre following the parties' requests for the original decisions to be reconsidered.
The Turkish football association must now play its next three home competitive matches behind closed doors on neutral territory. If further incidents occur during these three matches or during any of the three subsequent matches that are not subject to restrictions, the original sanctions will be restored (six home competitive matches behind closed doors on neutral territory in a UEFA-affiliated country at least 500km from the Turkish border) subject to additional sanctions from UEFA. The players Huggel and Emre will now only be suspended for their national teams' next four competitive matches (previously six). Nevertheless, the fines previously imposed remain in place (cf. media release dated 7 February 2006).
The FIFA Appeal Committee was forced to review the sanctions in these three cases because the Turkish football association and the two players lodged requests for the decisions to be reconsidered and the penalties reduced. It was deemed that the original sanctions could be reassessed after the association and the players had publicly apologised for their indiscretions. Most notably, the Turkish football association accepted full responsibility for the incidents in connection with the above-mentioned match and acknowledged the damage caused to the reputation of international football. At the same time, the association pledged that it would do everything in its power to prevent similar incidents being repeated in the future.
The three parties lodged appeals to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne contesting the sanctions that had been imposed by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee at the start of February and subsequently upheld by the FIFA Appeal Committee. During the course of these requests for the sanctions to be reconsidered, the association and the two players ultimately chose not to pursue their cases with CAS.
The other players (Ozalan Alpay and Serkan Balci) and officials (Mehmet Özdilek and Stephan Meyer) sanctioned in connection with the Turkey v. Switzerland match had accepted the sanctions pronounced against them and did not request CAS to review the elements of their sanctions that were subject to appeal.
In view of the latest decision by the FIFA Appeal Committee, all of these sanctions are now final.