‘2011 a contrasting year for football,’ UEFA chief says
NYON, Switzerland - Hürriyet Daily News
UEFA President Michel Platini says that ‘national football associations have had to take courageous decisions to preserve the justice and integrity’ of football.UEFA President Michel Platini emphasized the governing body’s war on match-fixing in his message for season’s greetings.
The President admitted that the year “has probably been one of the most contrasting and rich in learning opportunities,” he has experienced as President of UEFA.
“It has been one of those years where one feels the weight and magnitude of one’s responsibilities, but which equally serves to provide greater strength,” he said in his statement.
“It has been a year in which certain of our national associations have had to take courageous decisions to preserve the justice and integrity of our sport,” he wrote. “A year in which we have also had to remain solid and defend our values – sometimes alone – to guarantee the respecting of the rules and the equity of the competitions, and to prevent football becoming a hostage of a few for their own profit and interests. It has been a year in which, unfortunately and at the expense of certain agonies, football has emphasised its need for transparency and governance, aspects which are so important in relation to the respect which is so dear to me.”
“I have always perceived my responsibility as being to protect the game, and 2011 has been a year in which the game has needed particular protection,” the French football legend added. “It has been a year which has underlined the importance of our organisation as one of the guarantors of the values, stability and equity of this sport.”
The year 2011 was particularly marred by match-fixing scandals in Turkey, Greece, Italy. The Italian investigation resulted in football bans of several active and former footballers, while in Greece, Kavala and Olympiacos Volou were relegated to the second-tier league. Volou was also excluded from the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League play-off round.
In Turkey’s case, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) barred Fenerbahçe for allegedly having involved in match-fixing, upon a request by UEFA. The decision caused controversy in Turkey, prompting Fenerbahçe fans to stage protests as well as posting angry letters to the football’s governing body’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.