Galatasaray enters new chapter in war with TFF

Galatasaray enters new chapter in war with TFF

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Galatasaray enters new chapter in war with TFF

Galatasaray Chairman Ünal Aysal has been openly critical about the Turkish Football Federation’s inactivity responding to the match-fixing investigation. Hürriyet photo

Galatasaray entered a new chapter in its war with the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), petitioning the game’s national governing body to act against match fixing.

Galatasaray issued a petition to TFF before its critical meeting yesterday that focused on match fixing and the 58th article of the Disciplinary Code.

“The decisions that will be made in the meeting are important regarding Turkish teams’ qualification in the European competitions,” the petition said. “If Galatasaray does not qualify for the European competition next season due to a UEFA ban after the TFF decision, the federation will be responsible for it.”

The petition arrived only an hour before TFF met to discuss the controversial article regarding the match-fixing issue.

“Every decision we have made was in line with international laws, as well as UEFA and FIFA codes,” a statement released after the meeting read.

Controversial article
The TFF said it will convene Jan. 26 as planned to reconsider the 58th article, which calls for the “relegation” of any team that “manipulates games or attempts to do so.” The article could potentially affect a total of eight Spor Toto Super League clubs whose officials, players and coaches were listed as suspects in the rigging case.

A total of 93 officials and players are listed as suspects in the case, including several key names in Turkish football such as Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım, TFF Vice Chairman Göksel Gümüşdağ, former TFF Chairman Mahmut Özgener, Trabzonspor Chairman Sadri Şener and Beşiktaş board member Serdal Adalı.

Following a Union of Clubs meeting last month, Orduspor Chairman Nedim Türkmen said the amendments of the article aimed “to separate those manipulated games and those who only attempted paying incentives” and “preventing the clubs being damaged because of the individuals’ faults.”

Galatasaray is the only member of the “big four” top clubs in Turkish football untouched by the match-fixing allegations and has been an open critic of TFF after the investigation became public July 3 last year.

“This flame cannot be blown out; solutions must not be delayed,” Galatasaray Chairman Ünal Aysal said in a statement released in July criticizing the federation’s slow pace in dealing with the alleged rigging.

Apart from Galatasaray, Trabzonspor and Bursaspor were among the teams against amending the 58th article, but on Jan. 13 they found strong and unlikely backing. Yıldırım, arguably the most influential man in Turkish football, sent out a message from Metris Prison where he is jailed pending trial, saying  Fenerbahçe was against the amendments.

“The 58th article cannot and should not be changed,” Yıldırım said in a message sent through his lawyer. “Those who have penalized Fenerbahçe without letting it defend itself should relegate Fenerbahçe before Jan. 26 if they are to change the ruling.”

The TFF did not apply any sanctions in the match-fixing case but barred Fenerbahçe from playing in this year's Champions League following a request by UEFA.