Galatasaray fume over Schalke appeal
Galatasaray officials have reacted angrily to Schalke's decision to appeal against the result of Wednesday's Champions League match due to doubts over Didier Drogba's eligibility.
On Thursday, Schalke lodged an appeal with UEFA after the 1-1 draw in Istanbul, with the Bundesliga side questioning whether Drogba should have played.
"Everything's okay with Drogba," Bulent Tulun, a Galatasaray board member, is quoted as saying in Bild. "Schalke's only intention is to provoke. What is all this crap?"
The striker had joined Galatasaray in January after claiming his contract with Shanghai Shenhua had been annulled due to a failure to pay his wages, but the Chinese club disputed that assertion.
That meant the deal, which had been announced at the end of January, had to be delayed. FIFA granted Drogba a temporary licence to play for the Turkish club last week pending its own investigation into the contract claims.
UEFA, which had to await provisional confirmation of the transfer from FIFA, did not confirm Drogba's registration for the Champions League until February 5 despite its rules stipulating that clubs would have to register any new players for the knockout phase by February 1.
Schalke's finance manager, Peter Peters, had said there was enough uncertainty over Drogba's involvement to prompt an appeal.
Saying UEFA only got involved "when a club appeals", Peters told his club's official website: "There is the suspicion that he received his eligibility after the end of the deadline to register the player for the UEFA Champions League. Before each game, UEFA states that every club has to take responsibility for the players used. It is now up to UEFA to decide and Schalke will respect this process."
He added: "We don't know what is written in the contracts, but we know what UEFA stipulates."
Peters dismissed the claim that Drogba had been registered in time on account of the fact he had earlier appeared in an official list of players for the Champions League, saying it did not mean he was sanctioned at that stage.
"We could also list our winter signing Raffael," Peters explained, referring to the striker who had appeared for Dynamo Kiev in this season's group stage. "We should, however, avoid playing him at all costs."
UEFA's rules state: "Players must be duly registered with the national association concerned in accordance with the national association's own rules and those of FIFA, notably the FIFA Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players.
"The club bears the legal consequences for fielding a player who is not named on list A or B, or who is otherwise not eligible to play."
Meanwhile, Schalke were delayed at Istanbul airport on Thursday. Their plane was held on the runway and departed 30 minutes late, Der Westen reports.
Aircraft captain Mario Krauss - a diehard Schalke fan who once ran for the supervisory board - blamed the Turkey aviation authority. "Maybe they were Galatasaray supporters who were annoyed by our good performance," he said.
The second leg is to take place at the Schalke Arena on March 12.