Demirören ‘pays his dues,’ set to leave Beşiktaş for TFF chair
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
During his eight-year spell, Chairman Yıldırım Demirören (L) is believed to have spent around $100 million on Beşiktaş, making the Istanbul club indebted to him.Beşiktaş Chairman Yıldırım Demirören has announced he is giving up on the money the club owes him, as he prepares to leave the chair to take over the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) hot seat.
In his eight-years as Beşiktaş chairman, Demirören took an unusual path, giving the club money that is believed to be as high as $100 million. Although he is leaving the club to take over at the TFF, Demirören said he would not be asking for his money back.
“I grant all the money the club is indebted [to me],” Demirören said at the club’s general congress yesterday, responding to criticism that his tenure was not sustainable. “When I first arrived at the helm, the debt was around $11 million, which was roughly the same as our arch-rivals [Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe]. Today we are again on a similar level [of debt], if anything they are slightly more indebted. [Debts] were needed to compete with them.”
Demirören’s words were in the tone of a farewell speech. “This is one of the hardest speeches in my life,” he said. “I am filled with feelings resembling a father’s farewell to his son.”
Demirören is believed to be the frontrunner for the vacant TFF chair. More than 70 professional clubs have announced their support for Demirören, making him a strong candidate against Ata Aksu, the former TFF vice chairman.
An overwhelming majority of the 18 Spor Toto Super League clubs announced their support for Demirören, including rivals Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor.
Only Galatasaray and Bursaspor announced themselves as opposed to Demirören’s candidacy.
About 300 delegates from Turkey’s professional football clubs are expected to vote in the elections today.
The Union of Clubs, which brings together the 18 clubs of the Super League, had confirmed earlier that it would support UEFA Vice President Şenes Erzik for the TFF chair if he decided to run.
But Erzik reportedly said the duties he would assume as the TFF chief would contradict with his current responsibilities at UEFA, European football’s governing body, and FIFA, world football’s governing body.
The new chairman will have a busy agenda on his hands, as he will have responsibility for deciding on the match-fixing case. Aydınlar was criticized for trying to postpone a decision, but the UEFA has been reportedly pushing the TFF for a decision soon. It is believed that the majority of the clubs are favoring points deductions for the teams found guilty of match-fixing, but not relegation.
Mehmet Ali Aydınlar resigned from the post earlier this month, after seven turbulent months in the role. His term was greatly overshadowed by the match-fixing probe launched on July 3.
Eight teams, including Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor, three of the country’s top four clubs, are currently facing possible bans as part of the match-fixing case, in which a total of 93 sports officials, players and coaches have been listed as suspects. If elected, Beşiktaş chairman Yıldırım Demirören will have to resign from his post at the Istanbul club. Beşiktaş will hold an emergency congress in one month in order to elect a new chairman for the club.