Preparing for a reform year in football

Preparing for a reform year in football

The year 2017 is a reform year for football. A couple of months ago, it was the first time that a 24-club European Championship was played. The World Cup will also have a 48-team format starting in 2026.

The Champions League is transforming, with Saturday matches and wild-card practices set to be introduced.
 We are already used to goal-line technology, but now, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) practice is about to begin. 

Well, in a critical year when football is undergoing a global transformation, what should change here? Which lessons should Turkish football draw from all these? 

First, the Law on Sports Clubs should be revised. The scandalous statement issued two weeks ago by the Union of First League Clubs is like a summary of the country’s football. 

The head of the union, Halil Ünal, said, in short, “A football player that leaves a club problematically would not be taken on by other clubs.” Somehow, in this country, the player who has not been paid is guilty, the coach who has been meddled with is guilty, the referee who has been threatened is guilty and the media who reports this is guilty; only the club administrators who are the main reasons for all these irregularities are not guilty. 

In 2017, the law on sports clubs should be amended so that these kinds of administrators will be held accountable. At least six clubs in the Super League are not in a position to participate in European competition even if they qualify. Six of the clubs in the second tier have been subjected to point deductions.

 My suggestion is that if a club is banned from European cups, has been issued a transfer ban or if its points are erased, then the club president should be removed. Administrators who have caused this should be judged within the club’s administrative mechanism. Everybody is paying a cost – administrators should as well. 

Second, there seems to be a race to be relegated. It has been like this for the past 10 years. Each year at least five or six teams deserve to be relegated but because of the competition rules, only three go down. This is the reason why Sivas’ relegation took so long and why Antep has not been relegated for years despite being managed so badly. In the Super League, the last two should be directly relegated, then the four teams above them should play off against the third, fourth, fifth and sixth in the First League; this will make both the Super League and First League teams be better managed.

China, as a matter of fact, should not only be watched; we should be a part of it. The ranking of our teams points to unproductivity. The shortest way to solve this is to develop a transfer channel with China, Qatar and India. The China market should particularly not be watched from a distance. Sporting relations should be developed. 

Video referee reform is at the door. Most probably, a couple of referees will be positioned at a transmission vehicle outside the stadium. There will be live broadcast and then monitors that are five seconds slower than the live broadcast. If the referees are 100 percent sure on the most critical plays such as a penalty kick, red card and goals, only then will they push a button to contact the main referee. 

There may be an employment issue in this case because with four referees on the field and four referees on the monitor, a total of eight referees are needed. In my opinion, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) can pioneer in this field while the world is searching for the right model. The TFF can hire experienced referees who are at the end of their active career because of the age limit and assign them to monitors. Experienced people at the monitors will only increase the rate of correct decisions.

Best wishes in the new year for fairer play and a fairer world.