Union of Clubs pressures President Gül on sports law
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Amendments on a few articles in the sports law may lead to lighter punishments for suspects in an ongoing match-fixing case. But the bill needs Gül’s approval.The Turkey Union of Clubs yesterday demanded that changes in the law on sports violence be ratified “urgently” in an apparent call to President Abdullah Gül, who has the final say on the amendments.
The union, which is formed by the chairmen of 18 clubs participating in the national top-flight football competition Spor Toto Super League, released a statement on the changes in the law on sports violence.
“This amendment has the complete backing of all parties involved and was presented by all the political parties in Parliament,” the statement read. “We demand the changes to be completed urgently.”
The statement comes a day after Gül voiced his “concern” on the changes.
“Frankly, I am concerned about that law,” he said Nov. 30. “A law that was ratified six months ago should have been prepared in a more proper way.”
Gül also said he would have the amendments “examined” carefully.
Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç also poured cold water over the Union of Clubs’ request.
“It is not right for us to speculate on those subjects before Mr. President ratifies it,” Kılıç said to Hürriyet Daily News.
Parliament last week passed amendments on a few articles in the law in a move that could lead to lighter punishments for suspects in an ongoing match-fixing case.
According to the law, those found guilty of involvement in match fixing would face five to 12 years in jail. If the amendments are accepted, the sentence would decrease to between one and three years in total. However, the law needs Gül’s approval before going into effect.
The proposal suggests changes to articles in the law on violence which led to the arrests of 31 club officials, players and coaches after the match-fixing inquiry started July 3.
An investigation was launched at the end of 2010 after a new law on violence in sports came into effect. The law includes several points on match fixing, along with crowd trouble.
Controversy on the law got heated earlier this week, when Şamil Tayyar, a deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), wrote a letter to Gül criticizing the amendments that were prepared via the joint efforts of the deputy group leaders of all four political parties in the legislature. Tayyar objected to the regulations, stating that the approved proposal not only reduced sentences for match fixing, but also took rigging out of the category of “organized crime.”
“If the proposal becomes a law, the suspects will be released, and their cases will be left unresolved because the cases will be handled at ordinary courts and not at Court for Serious Crimes,” said Tayyar, urging politicians to come together to fight against the sports mafia in Istanbul. He said he hoped the president would not approve the law.
Despite the joint statement, club representatives were reluctant to comment on the issue.
“The case is closed if Mr. President thinks so,” Beşiktaş Vice Chairman Metin Keçeli said to the Anatolia news agency. “Then I can’t open my mouth.”
Galatasaray Vice Chairman Adnan Öztürk said “it was normal” for Gül to have the law examined.