Aydınlar steps down from TFF hot seat
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Aydınlar was the chairman of the Turkish Football Federation during turbulent times after the match-fixing investigation became public on July 3, 2011.Mehmet Ali Aydınlar stepped down from his post as the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) president and two TFF vice chairmen resigned in a surprising move yesterday.
Aydınlar and Vice Chairmen Göksel Gümüşdağ and Lütfi Arıboğan announced their decision to step down through a brief statement on the TFF website.
The TFF set the date Feb. 27 for the election of a new president. Until that date, TFF Executive Board Member Hüsnü Güreli will be caretaker chairman.
“I cannot stand the atmosphere where there is no trust, where many people and institutions act without ethics,” Aydınlar said in a statement. ”The point we are at is in deep contrast with my views in life and ethics, so I’ve decided to leave in order to raise attention to the situation.”
Aydınlar and his board came under intense pressure following last week’s General Convention, but after an emergency meeting Jan. 30, it was announced the current board would remain at the helm.
“The TFF board will show utmost respect to the Ethics Committee, Disciplinary Committee and Arbitrary Committee,” a statement said, referring to the match-fixing investigation.
A total of 93 football players, coaches and club officials are listed as suspects in the ongoing match-fixing case, as part of which eight teams risk being relegated from the top-flight.
Aydınlar was voted into the chairmanship only a week before the match-fixing case became public, meaning almost his whole spell was taken up by the turbulent events.
He was criticized by Galatasaray for lack of activity in the alleged match-fixing cases and waiting for the judiciary process to be completed, while Fenerbahçe, another heavyweight and the biggest suspect in the case, put the TFF administration under fire for barring the club from playing in the Champions League upon a request by the UEFA.
Last week, Aydınlar seemed to lose his biggest ally, with Yıldırım Demirören, the chairman of Beşiktaş and the Union of Clubs head, calling for a vote of confidence in the TFF chairman.
However, the tides seemed to turn earlier this week when the Union of Clubs called for Aydınlar to continue his term. “The majority of the Spor Toto Super League Clubs […] make it clear that the Turkish Football Federation chairman and board should continue their posts at such a crucial time,” said the Union of Clubs a few hours before Aydınlar said he would continue.
Last week at the General Convention of the TFF, club delegates voted against a Union of Clubs proposal that would have stopped relegation bans on teams guilty of match fixing. That meant the TFF could now start a disciplinary process against the clubs charged with match fixing.
Sports writer Mehmet Demirkol said Aydınlar’s resignation came as a big surprise. “Arıboğan’s resignation was on the cards since he allegedly promised to bribe some football teams to vote ‘yes’ and Gümüşdağ was expected to resign since he was listed as a suspect in the match-fixing case,” he said to NTV Spor. “But the chairman’s resignation came as a surprise.”