Turkish fan groups call on ‘inactive’ TFF to quit

Turkish fan groups call on ‘inactive’ TFF to quit

The fan groups and representatives of 23 football clubs pose for a photograph after their meeting in Trabzon. Below, a speaker is seen addressing the meeting. (PHOTOS aa, BURAK ALTUNOZ)

May 29, 2012, Tuesday/ 16:53:00/ OKAN UDO BASSEY

The match-fixing scandal that rocked Italian football in the past year has implicated the coach of Serie A champion Juventus, Antonio Conte, and ensured that defender Domenico Criscito will not participate at the upcoming European Championship.

On Monday, police swept through the Italian national squad’s training camp near Florence as part of an intensive investigation into match-fixing that has resulted in 14 arrests -- including Lazio captain Stefano Mauri -- bringing the total number of those arrested to about 50 since last year.

In Turkey, however, nothing has emerged since the scandal broke in July of last year. The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has been beating around the bush and complicating matters instead of resolving them. They recently went a step further by embarking upon “collective incrimination” and “collective exoneration.”

The TFF, headed by Yıldırım Demirören, referred 16 clubs –- some who have been implicated several times in the match-fixing scandal and others who had not been mentioned at all -- to its Ethics Committee for action. The 16 were cleared of any wrongdoing, while minor sanctions were imposed on a few unimportant sportspeople in an obvious ploy to save face.

The TFF may be happy to play the ostrich, but how long can it continue to bury its head in the sand, pretending it just doesn’t see? The fact of the matter is that some are clearly seeing what the TFF has refused to see. The fan groups and representatives of 23 football clubs, including Trabzonspor and Galatasaray, are among them.

Meeting in Trabzon on Monday, the fan groups expressed their disgust and anger over what is currently happening in Turkish football and called on the TFF to pack up and leave immediately. Gathering under the theme, “Colors of Friendship Platform,” the fans also lambasted the TFF for its foot dragging and inaction.

“Instead of going after the accused and separating the innocent from the guilty, the TFF has created an atmosphere whereby the guilty are rewarded. TFF President Yıldırım Demirören changing Article 58, which had been unanimously endorsed by all the clubs, is clear proof of this,” the platform’s joint statement read.

The platform also noted that the rigging saga had tarnished the image of Turkish football and that those responsible shouldn’t be the governors of the sport in this country.

The fans groups were from 23 clubs: 61 Gençlik (Trabzonspor), Ultraslan (Galatasaray), Kapalı Kale (Kayserispor), 07 Gençlik (Antalyaspor), Gençlerbirliği Fan Club, Kırmızı Şeytanlar (Mersin İY), Gençlik 27 (Gaziantepspor), Orduspor Fan Club, 1910 Ankaragücü Fan Club, Tatangalar (Sakaryaspor), 1965 Manisaspor Fan Club, Bucafan Club (Bucaspor), Yankiler-Yalı (Göztepe), Karşıyaka Fan Club, 1914 Altay Fan Club, Akhisarspor Fan Club, Hatayspor Fan Club, Elazığspor Fan Club, Şirinler (Samsunspor), Çaykur Rizespor Fan Club, Genç Çotanaklar (Giresunspor), Boluspor Fan Club and Genç Şanlıurfaspor Fan Club.

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