Boss nonchalant on 22-team league
Demirören (bottom) dismisses rumors that no teams would be relegated this season. Ankaragücü (top) is the first team to be demoted this season. DHA photoTurkish Football Federation (TFF) chairman Yıldırım Demirören nonchalantly refused to deny queries yesterday about a reported rule change that would cancel relegation for this season.
Daily Hürriyet reported yesterday that the newly-elected chairman’s first big move would be to cancel relegation in the current Spor Toto Super League season and play next season with 22 teams, possibly in two groups.
“Don’t ask me about that,” Demirören said when asked about the reported plan. “Go ask the guy who reported the story.” Demirören, the former Beşiktaş chairman, also jokingly said “it will be 28 teams next season, not 22.” But TFF Board Member Yemen Ekşioğlu dismissed the claims and said those were “stories made up to damage” the Demirören administration.
However, İsmail Er, the reporter for the daily Hürriyet, defended his story.
“I have talked to several delegates and board members from the federation and reported the story afterwards,” he told Radyospor. “And when we asked Demirören, he did not dismiss them.”
The claims come at a time when Demirören and his administration are expected to make a decision on teams whose officials, players or coaches were allegedly involved in match fixing. A total of eight teams, including Fenerbahçe, Trabzonspor and Beşiktaş, are awaiting decisions, which could include possible point deductions or relegation.
Hürriyet’s report claims Demirören would avoid forcibly relegating teams allegedly involved in the scandal and would also cancel demotions in the current campaign to create a “level playing field.”
Demirören’s statements came after the ceremony for his official takeover from Hüsnü Güreli, who was acting as a caretaker chairman after Mehmet Ali Aydınlar resigned.
Aydınlar was highly criticized for his attempts to cool down the match-fixing scandal by postponing a solution. Former Beşiktaş Chairman Demirören, who was elected after entering the vote as the sole candidate, said he would not do the same.
“What we aim to do is to carry Turkish football to the highest point possible,” Demirören said at the ceremony. “We need a little patience. We will solve all the problems because they have to be solved. They are getting bigger and bigger each time they are delayed. We have to cut off the bleeding finger and bring the process to an end with radical and definite decisions.”