The Corrupted Turkish Football & UEFA & FIFA

Dear Sir/Madame,

Since the beginning of match fixing scandal in Turkey, we have appealed to you many times . We were trying to warn the football community that the scandal was being covered up by politicians, Turkish Football Federation (TFF), clubs that were under investigation and the media.

According to Article 58 of Football Disciplinary Regulations (FDR), clubs involved in match fixing have to be relegated. TFF amended FDR Art. 58 so that the clubs are not to be severely punished on charges of match fixing. TFF defended to punish only board members of the clubs but not clubs themselves. (1)

According to TFF Disciplinary Committee report: “the clubs cannot be responsible or victim of match fixing.” Match fixing is legalized by weakening Art. 58 of Disciplinary Regulations.

After match fixing scandal, “Violence In Sports Law No. 6222″ was amended on December 10th, 2011 by the Parliament and penalty of fixing a match was minimized. (2)

Politicians influence autonomous institutions in a bad way. They basically decided who would be TFF president (3) (Yildirim Demiroren who secured the support of most Super League clubs, as well as the Prime Minister Erdogan, met with some club presidents yesterday in his own residence for TFF elections.)

Politicians suggested TFF and UEFA to punish only board members but not the clubs. (4) (Erdogan Says Clubs Shouldn’t Be Punished for Fixed Matches. “I agree with him in principle,” Platini told reporters. “Is there another way to work? Maybe it’s possible we can think about it.” )

Court of the Match Fixing case in Turkey found more than 30 people ( chairmen, board members, players, attendants, managers, coach, interpreter ) with the clubs guilty. The verdict also suggests that there is a huge criminal organization. (5)

But neither UEFA nor FIFA has acted in any concrete way other than warnings and announcements without any impact.

This is a disgraceful attempt against universal ethics and codes. The penalties for such crimes that undermine football’s spirit and its future should be harsh and applicable to all, as no one is above the law. As recently enforced in Greece, Switzerland and Italy, these disciplinary measures have to be same for all member countries in order to ensure a fair football environment.

Are the disciplinary proceedings of UEFA & FIFA different for each Football Association? After the bribery scandal in FIFA, Turkish football fans are worried that FIFA & UEFA’s zero tolerance policy to illegal activities and corruption be sacrificed for bribery?

a) Former Turkish FIFA referee Erman Toroglu brought up rumors of a USD 10 million payment to UEFA president in order to prevent a penalty from UEFA. (6)

b) Turkish journalist Hincal Uluc noted “Here is what I’ve heard recently. A businessman who is very close to Fenerbahce, donated USD 30 million to UEFA” (7)

c) An article by Habertürk newspaper reporter Halil Özer; “Senez Erzik knew that Fenerbahce (FB) would not be given a punishment. It is known that Platini and Infantino kept track of the developments very closely. However, using their right of choice, they also let the Disciplinary Committee know that their opinion was not to punish FB. If UEFA congress had not been held in Istanbul, if M. Platini had not met with Prime Minister Erdoğan, I wonder how this problem would have been resolved. In reality, what went on at the meeting between Prime Minister Erdogan and Platini dictated UEFA position from start to finish.” (8)

d) “Newspaper reporter Mehmet Arslan relating a conversation he had with a board member of TFF. Without a doubt, a sentence uttered during the course of the match-fixing scandal which still sticks in one’s mind, belongs to Prime Minister Erdogan: Separate people from organizations. Do not punish organizations for crimes because they are perpetrated by people associated with them. Before the Prime Minister made these statements, he met with managers of the TFF. Was the rigging reflected on the playing field or not? When Prime Minister received a negative answer “No”, he used these words: Organizations should never be punished for crimes perpetrated by people. During the match-fixing scandal, the federation used his words as their major guideline. There is another side that must be considered, namely the UEFA. The Prime Minister, in a meeting with UEFA chairman Michel Platini, repeated the same statement. At a press conference immediately after the meeting, Mr. Platini said, “The Prime Minister and myself, we are of the same opinion, but there are rules.” Platini said those words at the press conference but neglected to tell the media what statements he had made to the Prime Minister at the meeting. UEFA Chairman Platini’s exact words were: “We are of the same mind. I cannot change the regulations. The only thing I can do for you is to relate my opinion, if need be, to the disciplinary committee.”

A board member of TFF said that UEFA was not prepared to sacrifice Turkey, because we are an important football country. The Prime Minister is an important government official. Platini may be considered as a candidate for FIFA chairman. Platini can reach out to any president and prime minister he wishes to talk to. When Mr. Erdogan was asking his deputies to amend Art. 58, we explained this fact to UEFA. “Turkish football may now be considered as finished. There are no fans in the stadiums and sponsors are running away. If we do not change back this article to its original form, football will be a mockery in Turkey.” They listened to what we had to say and did not cause any difficulties.” (9)

As you aware, there is a huge corrupted football mechanism in Turkey. There is no self-governance in Turkish football. Laws have been changed by the politicians and TFF. Politicians involved in the investigation of alleged claims, cover up the crime. They saved some clubs. While all these were being executed, UEFA and FIFA just watched and did nothing.

You must intervene immediately to protect the soul of the game. Let us embrace football again.

Sources:
(1) http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/30/soccer-turkey-matchfixing-idUSL5E8FU2K220120430
http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/story/_/id/7871758/turkey-federation-cut-points-teams-attempted-match-fixing
(2) http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/12/08/turkey-akparty-law-idUKL5E7N83IL20111208
http://www.eurasianet.org/node/64646
http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/new-turkish-law-cuts-sentences-for-football-match-fixing
(3) http://spor.milliyet.com.tr/gozler-demiroren-de/spor/spordetay/20.02.2012/1505327/default.htm
(4) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-22/erdogan-says-clubs-shouldn-t-be-punished-for-fixed-soccer-games.html
http://www.cbc.ca/sports/soccer/story/2012/05/09/sp-turkey-match-fixing.html
(5) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18681119
(6) http://sozcu.com.tr/2012/gunun-icinden/platiniye-10-milyon-dolar-verdiler.html
(7) http://www.medyaradar.com/haber/medyagunlugu-83945/hincal-uluctan-bomba-iddia-fenerli-bir-isadami-platiniye-rusvet-verdi.html
(8) http://www.haberturk.com/yazarlar/halil-ozer/753438-ceza-verilmeyecegini-erzik-biliyordu
(9) http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/yazarlar/21422460.asp

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