Beşiktaş chairman elected Turkish football’s chief

Beşiktaş chairman elected Turkish football’s chief

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Beşiktaş chairman elected Turkish football’s chief

Yıldırım Demirören casts his vote during yesterday’s extraordinary convention in Ankara. Beşiktaş Chairman Demirören Demirören received 221 of the 229 votes cast at the convention as Galatasaray and Bursaspor delegates protested the vote. DHA photo

Former Beşiktaş Chairman Yıldırım Demirören was elected the new head of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) yesterday, receiving a mandate to lead Turkish football through turbulent times.

Demirören received 221 of the 229 votes cast at the extraordinary convention in Ankara as Galatasaray and Bursaspor delegates protested the vote. The new TFF chief was the sole candidate after Ata Aksu withdrew from the race yesterday morning.

“We agreed with Aksu that going to the election with one candidate would be the best,” Demirören said in his speech before the vote, adding that he thanked Aksu “on behalf of Turkish football.”
TFF chief Mehmet Ali Aydınlar resigned last month amid fierce debate over a match-fixing scandal that has enveloped Turkish football. More than 90 suspects, 16 of whom – including Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım – are under arrest, are standing trial on allegations of match fixing. The case involves the footballers, coaches and executives of many clubs, including Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor.

Fenerbahçe was banned from participating in the UEFA Champions League this season and the TFF is expected rule on possible penalties soon.

Message of unity and dialogue with UEFA

Demirören said in his speech that he was aware of the mounting problems. “We will overcome such difficulties altogether.”

The new TFF chief added that a way would be sought to ease the problems with European football’s governing body.

“We will establish dialogue with UEFA and seek paths to emerge from this difficult situation,” Demirören told delegates.

“We want to face them spotlessly clean at the meeting on March 22 and finish this business off,” said Demirören.

UEFA is scheduled to hold its annual congress in Istanbul on March 22, bringing together its 53 member associations. Ahead of the congress, UEFA’s executive committee will meet in the city on March 20-21. Although Demirören gave a message of unity, he was not successful in convincing Bursaspor, the winner of the Turkish Super League in the 200-2010 season.

“I do not believe that Yıldırım Demirören will be impartial,” Bursaspor Chairman İbrahim Yazıcı told reporters yesterday before leaving the convention without voting for the new TFF chief. “There are doubts surrounding the new TFF chief and his administration, I believe that the chaos will deepen,” Yazıcı said, adding that the sanctions on the clubs allegedly involved in match fixing should be immediately imposed.

Sanctions against clubs involved could include relegation. However, media reports suggest the federation could instead alter its regulations so that only points are deducted even though clubs previously rejected such a plan.

The Istanbul court handling the match-fixing case released seven defendants from custody late Feb. 24, but Fenerbahçe’s Yıldırım remained in prison along with 15 other suspects. The rest of the accused are free pending trial. The next hearing is on March 26.

The allegations emerged at the start of July when police carried out raids against those accused of involvement in rigging 13 matches, including Fenerbahçe’s 4-3 victory over Sivasspor, which clinched the league championship on the final day of last season.

Yıldırım, who is accused of being a gang leader, denied the match-fixing charges in his defense in court last week, saying the allegations against him were specifically designed to undermine the Istanbul club.