Federation sets date to change relegation ban next month
The Turkish Football Federation Chairman Mehmet Ali Aydınlar has backtracked from his initial stance on the sanctions against match fixing, and hinted that a change on the controversial 58th article of the Disciplinary Code could be changed.The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) convened late on Dec. 28 to set a date for an emergency meeting next month, where a controversial article of the Disciplinary Code will be discussed.
The TFF released a statement fixing the General Convention to be held on Jan. 26, 2012, with the aim of reconsidering the 58th article which requires teams found guilty of match-fixing and of attempting to fix matches would be relegated.
“In the meeting [on Dec. 28] it was decided that possible sanctions on teams charged with match-fixing are discussed and decided in an emergency General Convention on Jan. 26, 2012,” the statement read.
A total of 93 officials and players were listed as suspects in the match-fixing case, in which eight clubs have been allegedly involved.
There were several calls from the Union of Clubs to the TFF Chairman Mehmet Ali Aydınlar to lift the 58th article “not to punish clubs due to individuals’ faults,” but the head of the national governing body said he would not bow down to pressure and will do what the law says. However, this week saw Aydınlar backtrack from his statements and say it is unjust for “those who manipulate games and those who attempt to manipulate games to get the same ban.”
The Turkish media suggested the Dec. 28 statement was a sign that the relegation ban on match-fixing teams will be lifted.
“In the General Convention the relegation ban will be lifted once only, even if the 58th article is changed,” the daily Hürriyet reported citing backdoor rumors. “And there will be point deductions and monetary penalties for match-fixing.”
The daily Radikal claimed it was a tacit acceptance of the match-fixing claims.
“Apparently the TFF and the clubs have agreed there were games fixed and this is why they want to change the punishments,” Kenan Başaran said in the daily Radikal yesterday.
Başaran said last year’s champion might also change depending on points deductions.
Three of Turkey’s top teams, Spor Toto Super League champion Fenerbahçe, runner-up Trabzonspor and Ziraat Turkish Cup winner Beşiktaş, are among those involved in the case. The TFF decision is likely to save those teams from being relegated for the first time in their histories, but the European football governing body might still exclude them from future continental competitions, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) secretary general Gianni Infantino said Dec. 28.
“There are no plans in this respect but there are rules that we are applying in the same way to all clubs,” Infantino told Reuters. “It seems to be only domestic matches, where it’s under the jurisdiction of the national association to take the necessary measures. We are discussing with the TFF and if necessary, we will certainly not hesitate to take necessary measures.”