Clean game, UEFA boss says in fixing-hit Turkey
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
UEFA President Michel Platini stands firm in his stance in the match-fixing case when he addressed the media following the annual UEFA Congress meeting in Istanbul.Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a plea for individuals rather than clubs to be punished for match-fixing yesterday, even as UEFA and FIFA Presidents disagree.
FIFA Chief Sepp Blatter urged increased vigilance against what he called the “scourge” of rigged matches and UEFA leader Platini said things “do not work that way.”
Erdoğan spoke to officials from Europe’s 53 football nations in Istanbul - the home city of Fenerbahçe, whose chairman is suspected of fixing games to help it win the Turkish title last year, and was then barred from entering the Champions League.
Addressing UEFA’s annual congress, Erdoğan said clubs should not be punished for crimes committed by individuals, implying the clubs whose officials, players or coaches were involved in the match-fixing case might not be punished.
“We have to identify a difference between the individual and the legal entity,” Erdoğan told representatives of UEFA’s 53 member associations. “We should act against individuals who committed the crime. Only they should be given the highest sanctions.
“If a legal entity is punished for the crime of an individual, millions of people would be punished.”
Platini said he “agreed in principle” with Erdoğan on the issue but the current rules have to be obeyed.
“On principle, I agree,” Platini said. “(But) this is how it is. If there is another way, we’ll think about it.”
A total of 93 club officials, players and coaches are currently on trial over the scandal, which includes top clubs Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor, along with Istanbul BB, Eskişehirspor, Sivasspor, Giresunspor and Mersin İdman Yurdu.
Blatter said an early warning system was helping monitor suspicious betting while cooperation with Interpol was also helping curb rigging.
“Are we responsible for all the evils in our world? No, but we must see to it that we stay alert,” he said. “We are working together against this scourge which is match-fixing.”
UEFA is also pressing Turkey to take actions against the clubs.
“The fight against match-fixing is an absolute priority for UEFA,” said Gianni Infantino, the organization’s secretary general.
He later said that UEFA would intervene if the Turkish federation does not take any action by the time teams have to register for European competitions.
Additional report from AP was used in this story
Platini stands firm during his Istanbul visit
Çetin Cem Yılmaz - ISTANBUL
Michel Platini did not back down from his stance in key issues, from the match-fixing scandal to Turkey’s Euro 2020 bid, during his visit to Turkey.
The UEFA president, who was in Istanbul this week for the annual congress of the European football’s governing body, made the institution’s stance on controversial cases clear, even if it meant being at odds with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Erdoğan said they were willing to “separate individuals from institutions,” meaning clubs would not be charged for what their officials committed.
Platini disagreed. “Mr. Prime Minister told me that earlier this week. That is right in theory, but things do not work that way in football.”
Another red line Platini drew regarded Turkey’s bid to host Euro 2020. Erdoğan said Turkey’s recent record of hosting major sports events – from this month’s World Indoor Athletics Championships to the 2005 Champions League final – would lead UEFA delegates “to consider Turkey a serious candidate” for the 2020 European Football Championships.
Turkey will have Platini’s vote in the bidding, but with one condition.
“I believe Turkey should host a Euros,” Platini said. “I will vote for Turkey in the bidding. But in 2020 Istanbul is also a candidate for the Olympics, so if they have the Olympics and the Euros it’s maybe a bit of a handful. If Istanbul gets the Olympic Games, I would not vote for them.”
Pick either Olympics or Euros, Platini warns Erdoğan
ISTANBUL – Agence France-Presse
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday urged UEFA to award his country the right to host the 2020 European football championships.
“Give us Euro 2020,” said Erdoğan at the end of his address before the UEFA Congress in Istanbul.
Turkey lost the bid to host Euro 2016 which was awarded to France.
And UEFA member countries now have from next Monday until May 15 to officially lodge their bid to host the 2020 edition.
“We’re catching up in terms of infrastructure,” said Erdoğan, who announced the construction of 18 new stadia across the country.
“Turkey is a country which adores football, where there are many fans,” added Erdoğan, a keen footballer in his youth whose parents did not want him to pursue his dream of becoming a professional player.
“My father was right and I chose another path, but I learned a lot from football, I learned coordination, solidarity, to share, to pass the ball, to establish eye contact, communicate, and to speak from the heart.”
Meanwhile UEFA president Michel Platini said he would vote for Turkey to host the tournament if they did not win the bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
“Turkey had a strong dossier for 2016, it will be even stronger in 2020, the only slight problem is that Istanbul will be a candidate to host the Olympic Games ... it’s maybe a bit too much, but if Istanbul don’t have the Olympics I would vote for Turkey.”
Platini hails ‘victorious’ financial fair-play rule
UEFA President Michel Platini yesterday praised the European Union’s backing of the “financial fair-play” initiative as “a great victory for UEFA and football.”
The EU has given its backing to the concept of “financial fair-play” in football to prevent clubs spending beyond their means, UEFA and the European Commission said. The “financial fair-play” rules are due to come into effect in 2013-14 and state that a club cannot spend more than it earns.
“The European Commission recognizes the necessity for financial fair-play and have urged us to go further, evoking for the first time the necessity for greater tax equity between clubs,” the UEFA chief added. The rules are designed to reign in sky-rocketing spending among European clubs. Top division European clubs saw “bottom line” net losses worsen to 1.6 billion euros in 2009-10, a 36 percent rise on the previous year.
Meanwhile, Platini and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, head of the European Clubs Association (ECA), celebrated as they finalized improved cash injections for teams and other financial benefits.
Europe’s leading clubs are to receive an increased 100 million euros from the proceeds of Euro 2012.
As well as signing a new Memorandum of Understanding with the ECA, UEFA also penned new agreements with the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) and FIFPro, the worldwide players organization.
Compiled from AFP and Reuters reports by the Daily News staff