Turkey's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink on Tuesday told a Dutch newspaper he will resign if the match-fixing allegations are proven, calling on his players to prove Turkish football can be clean.
Hiddink made the remarks on his possible resignation during an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, upon being asked to comment on the match-fixing allegations that have sent shockwaves throughout Turkey. “If the allegations are proven then it's ‘case closed' for me,” Hiddink said. His remarks come a day after the news of Galatasaray's alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal, which would have plunged Turkish football into an even deeper crisis, proved to be a tempest in a teacup. It was the first good news to come out of Turkey after the unprecedented scandal broke out on July 3. Nevertheless, Hiddink stands by his words, adding: “Football is the world's favorite pastime. It is a big and wonderful industry, employing countless people, but that doesn't mean one can get involved in such things [match rigging].”
Turkey's coach, who is currently working with the national football team in preparation for their friendly match against Estonia, stated that he is particularly concerned about allegations that Turkish football authorities have paid various opponents and referees in several national football matches, claims made by former Samsunspor Chairman İsmail Uyanık during an interview with the Radikal daily on July 25.
Hiddink and the Turkish national team face tough challenges ahead as they prepare for the key match against Austria on Sept. 6 in the Austrian capital of Vienna amidst the storm of match-fixing allegations. A win against Austria would move Turkey to second place in group A, virtually landing them a ticket for Euro 2010 in Poland and the Ukraine.
Accordingly, Hiddink took some time before the training camp of the national team to comment on the ongoing scandal and share his view on the matter with his players to get them to focus on the task at hand. “I did not hold an hour-long speech on the scandal, just a motivating talk,” the coach said, adding, “I told them it is now up to them, players of the national team, to prove that Turkish football can be clean and normal.”