Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç told reporters on Thursday that changes to the new law are not on the government's agenda. Turkey's football clubs have combined forces to change a law on match-fixing as the Turkish Union of Clubs seeks help from political parties in Ankara.
The union gathered at the İlhan Cavcav facilities of the Ankara-based club Gençlerbirliği club on Wednesday to discuss Law No. 55 on rigging in sports. Fenerbahçe deputy chairmen Nihat Özdemir and Ali Koç, Beşiktaş Chairman Yıldırım Demirören, Trabzonspor Chairman Sadri Şener and Galatasaray manager Adnan Öztürk were in attendance at the meeting.
Recalling a visit by club chairmen to the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) headquarters earlier, Kılıç said changes to the law are not on the ruling party's agenda, adding that no one can give orders the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) because it was an autonomous institution.
The clubs demanded of politicians during the gathering on Wednesday that the law differentiate between managers and clubs, which would mean that only individuals involved in match-fixing would be punished and not clubs as a whole. Speaking on behalf of the Union of Clubs, Gençlerbirliği Chairman İlhan Cavcav argued that the clubs face harsh penalties because of the law. While stating that harsh penalties await those individuals who are involved in match-fixing, Cavcav said if the law is not changed, the clubs will have difficulty in finding managers in the future.
The members of the union also visited the office of Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Erdoğan Toprak. The Union of Clubs plans to discuss their requests with regard to the law with representatives of other political parties as well.
Turkish football was hit hard by an investigation into match-fixing allegations. Dozens have been arrested and detained since the probe was initiated on July 3. Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım and the club's senior managers İlhan Ekşioğlu and Şekip Mosturoğlu as well as Beşiktaş coach Tayfur Havutçuoğlu are among the prominent figures that are being held in prison as part of the investigation.
Galatasaray, which has so far not been included in the investigation except for a search of the club's premises by police in August, has reservations about the recent request from the union over the change of the law. The club has been skeptical of the Union of Clubs' decisions since the match-fixing investigation was launched and also voiced its concerns regarding a play-off system being launched for the upcoming season. With the new play-off system, the four teams that finish the 34-week season in the top four of the league will face off in a playoff stage for the title of the Spor Toto Super League.