The chairman of the
Turkish Football Federation (TFF) resigned on Tuesday along with
his two deputies, further deepening the crisis in Turkish
football over a match-fixing investigation with UEFA pressing
for urgent action.
The TFF said chairman Mehmet Ali Aydinlar had resigned and
Husnu Gureli would stand in until a new federation election is
held on February 27.
No reason was given for the resignations, but they came days
after Turkish football clubs rejected a proposed regulatory reform
designed to spare them from possible relegation over a
match-fixing scandal in which several of the top clubs including
champions Fenerbahce are implicated.
At last week's extraordinary general meeting of the
federation, considered vital to restoring the league's
reputation and unity, Aydinlar called the match-fixing affair
the most serious crisis Turkish football had ever faced.
UEFA, European football's governing body, has called on Turkey
to act quickly and take disciplinary action against those
allegedly involved in the match-fixing.
Aydinlar, who became chairman only a few days before the
match-fixing scandal broke, said in a statement that UEFA
officials had made different remarks on the issue to the Court
of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and TFF, and he no longer had the
patience to continue his work in an unethical environment.
A Turkish court issued an indictment in December against 93
officials and players, most notably Fenerbahce Chairman Aziz
Yildirim, who is accused of being a gang leader among charges
ranging from match-fixing to paying bribes.
Tuesday's announcement came one day after the federation
said the chairman and his deputies would continue in their posts
at the insistence of federation delegates "to prevent a
worsening of the atmosphere of chaos in which football finds
Turkish federation vice-president Goksel Gumusdag, among
those who resigned on Tuesday, was detained over the
match-fixing probe but later released.
When the investigation emerged after police raids last July,
it was reported that 19 first division matches were being
The indictment refers to 13 matches, including Fenerbahce's
4-3 victory over Sivasspor which saw them clinch the league
championship on the final day of last season.
Under the proposed reform rejected last week, clubs believed
to be involved in match-fixing would no longer face relegation,
which is the current punishment, but would instead have faced a
minimum 12-point deduction.
Despite being at the heart of the investigation, Fenerbahce
led opposition among many clubs to the softening of punishments
and said the federation must wait for completion of the legal
process before acting.
In a written statement from his jail cell, Yildirim called
the proposal to remove the threat of relegation "a black stain
on the history of Turkish football."
UEFA has said, however, that the federation cannot wait and
has not ruled out excluding clubs from future European
The Turkish federation excluded Fenerbahce from this
season's Champions League, with runners-up Trabzonspor taking
their place, in an initial move after the investigation started.
The first hearing in the court case is scheduled for February 14.
The indictment names eight clubs, including Fenerbahce, Besiktas
and Trabzonspor, who are currently in the Europa League.
Fourteen players are among the defendants.
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