‘Platini said no Turkish clubs allowed in Europe, if TFF doesn't relegate teams’
Former Minister of Trade Kürşat Tüzmen (l) speaking with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the parliament in May, 2010. (Photo: Today's Zaman)
Anatolia news agency reported on Thursday that former Minister of Trade Kürşat Tüzmen said he had a conversation with UEFA President Michel Platini regarding a match-fixing scandal that has plagued Turkey since last summer and claimed that Platini told him no Turkish clubs will be allowed to compete in European cups if the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) does not relegate teams suspected of involvement in match-fixing.
Tüzmen, who announced his bid for the presidency of the TFF and withdrew his candidacy days before the election, has claimed that UEFA will not allow Turkish clubs to enter European competitions.
“Surely [if I had become TFF head] I was going to relegate the teams. Our prime minister didn't want me to run for the TFF presidency. That's because he supports Fenerbahçe, and I support Galatasaray. I don't know much about football, but I am good at something, which is fair management,” Tüzmen was quoted as saying on the website.
Turkey's top football authority has not penalized any clubs for their suspected involvement in match-fixing even though a court case is still under way regarding the allegations.
Many high-ranking football officials from various Turkish clubs, including Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş, have been arrested on charges of fraud and match fixing. A total of 31 individuals, including agents, former football players and club managers, were arrested in two waves of the probe, with Fenerbahçe Chairman Yıldırım being the highest profile figure taken into custody. Most of these suspects have been released, including Beşiktaş coach Tayfur Havutçu.