Turkish football now finds itself amid a messy match-fixing scandal, and so nobody in his/her right mind can stop asking, “Where do we go from here?” Maybe the answer to this question is “further down into the abyss,” as there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Highly disillusioned Trabzonspor coach Şenol Güneş summed it all up when he said, “Turkish football has no direction,” on the eve of Thursday’s Athletic Bilbao-Trabzonspor UEFA Europa League playoff, first-leg match away in Spain. Simply put, the coach compared Turkish football to a flock of sheep without a shepherd.
At Wednesday’s news conference, only football and Athletic should have been on the minds of Güneş and his Black Sea lads. But that was hardly the case, as the match came a distant second to the rigging scandal, proving once again beyond reasonable doubt the extent match fixing has hijacked football in this country.
Waiting for indictments or Godot?
And the frustrated Güneş took a swipe at Turkish Football Federation (TFF) President Mehmet Ali Aydınlar, who on Monday said, “We are going to wait for the indictments” before making any move on the match-fixing tsunami.
“Let me say what really makes us sad,” he told reporters. “That the picture of our chairman [Sadri Şener, who had previously been summoned to testify and on Monday was referred to the Professional Football Disciplinary Committee] was splashed across Spanish newspapers and portrayed a bad image of Turkish football. This has got to be clarified,” he noted. “I had said previously that the guilty should be punished, but criminalizing the innocent is wrong and there is no change in this stance,” he asserted. “And to comment on the ‘if you are suspicious’ phrase that was used by the TFF head, I say I was suspicious in the past, I am suspicious now, I am suspicious about Turkish football and I am suspicious about its governors,” he emphasized.
Alluding to the planned strike in the Spanish league to protect the rights of the players, Güneş stated: “But in our country the players have no say, the coaches have no say. [Turkish] football has no direction,” the coach added, implicitly expressing a profound mistrust of the TFF.
War far from over
Aydınlar declared on Monday that the league season will commence on Sept. 9 with 18 teams -- with no punishments whatsoever and no teams relegated. Certain circles are mightily happy while others are hopping mad. The TFF boss and his cronies may have won the time-wasting battle by allowing emotions rule over reason once again on Monday, but the fact of the matter is that the war is far from over.
“We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality,” wrote the late 20th century Russian-American novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand.