Bonuses not sole problem in national team, says coach Terim
ISTANBULTurkish national team coach Fatih Terim has broken his silence on a scandal surrounding international midfielder Arda Turan, declaring that principles should be the priority in retaining team cohesion.
Speaking at a lengthy press conference following a 4-1 World Cup qualification victory over Kosovo on June 11, Terim said the troubles the team experienced last year during the European Championships were not limited to complaints about bonuses.
“[Some players] came late to practice, some did not take part in photo shoots; a lot of things happened,” Terim said at the 90-minute press conference.
“Sure the players are very important, they are major players, I do not argue against it, but principles and discipline are also very important,” the coach said in his first comments following Arda Turan’s decision to quit international football after he was kicked out of the squad last week for assaulting a veteran journalist on the team plane.
Turan tried to justify his assault arguing that there were “fake reports” on bonuses paid to the players last year for advancing to Euro 2016 in France.
Media reports at the time said the players, led by Turan, asked the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to increase the bonuses to 650,000 euros per player. The bonuses were initially announced as 150,000 euros per player before being increased to 500,000 euros per player.
Portuguese players were paid 275,000 euros each for winning the title at Euro 2016.
Terim confirmed the reports on June 11 when asked about the numbers and said it could be checked with the federation.
“I did not decide on the bonuses, but it is a shame that the bonus list was leaked,” he said.
“The bonus issue in Turkey, in both club and international football, is something we must all think about. Bonuses should be paid according to the ultimate result, not for every game,” he said.
The coach reiterated that the issue of bonuses was just part of the problem.
“The earth is not revolving around anyone. Everybody here should abide by principles and discipline. We try to treat everyone as equally as we can,” he said.
Terim said that if he had known about Turan’s assault on the plane, he would have sent him back on the same plane.
“What he did deserved a red card,” Terim said. “You cannot stay on the pitch after a red card, but I told [Turan] we could rescue the future.”
Terim said a text was prepared for a press conference with Turan that could have mended ties in the future but that the player went on record instead to announce his decision to quit the Turkish national team.
“I do not think that was a spontaneous action,” Terim said, accusing “outside forces” of meddling with the national team.
“You should look at who is advocating for whom and who embraced the wrong behavior,” he said. “We must be aware and prepared against bad people and bad situations.”