Sunday, July 23, 2006

Scandal hits Turkish football - surprise surprise

In my last post on the poll of 5,000 Turkish football supporters there was one question where I was surprised at the findings. The question was "Is there corruption in Turkish football?"

A total of 67.3 percent of respondents said "yes". I thought this figure was on the low side but I'm sure that if the same question was asked again today the figure would be closer to 100 percent thanks to a great expose by Hurriyet newspaper in the past few days.

A brief run down.

It's the last week of last season. Denizlispor needed Malatyaspor to lose in order to avoid relegation. Malatya duly lost.

What Hurriyet is reporting is that a Turkish businessman in Prague, Ozcan Kore, was contacted by Denizlispor chairman Ali Ipek just before that match and got him to offer three Czech footballers who play for Malatyaspor 100,000 euros each if they put in a sub-standard performance. Apparently, they did.

This would probably have been the end of the matter as I can't recall any outcry at the time. With the Turkish press concentrating so much on who would win the league I guess nobody noticed a few foreigners playing poorly. After all, it happens week-in, week-out. Although I do notice now reading through the reports again that the Malatyaspor chairman actually asked the Turkish Football Federation to look into the matter but has so far received no answer.

The problem seems to be that Ipek never sent the money to Kore. Clearly showing he has never watched the Sopranos or at least that he hasn't learnt anything from any organised crime film, Kore then put his complaints in writing and faxed Ipek asking where the money was. He needed it quickly because the Czech mob were after him for not paying the players, Kore complained.

Somehow or other, Hurriyet got a hold of this fax and we now have one hell of a corruption scandal.

Prosecutors in Denizli have opened an investigation and the sports minister, Mehmet Ali Sahin, has been laying into the complaints and investigation process in Turkey. Surely the answer is for the sports minister to actually change the law to make it easier to investigate such matters, but that is perhaps too simple a solution.

By the way, the TFF website doesn't mention the scandal.

After what happened in the Italian league with teams being demoted etc etc I wouldn't put much money on Denizlispor staying in the top flight for long at all.

Not that Hurriyet readers think so. In a poll on their website 75.2 percent of people don't believe Turkey would be able to hold an "Italian-style operation". Lets hope they are wrong.

The really funny thing about all this though is that in the end Denizlispor didn't have to rely on Malatyaspor losing to avoid relegation. They guaranteed staying up by beating Fenerbahce in the final match of the season that gave the title to Galatasaray. Fools.


  1. Without wishing to appear naive, I can't believe everything I hear about bribery and corruption going on in Turkey.

    OK, perhaps there are some rich and cavalier souls around who think they can get away with it, but it is very difficult to cover-up those things.

    Perhaps the potential perpretators can learn a thing or two from the Italians and hesitate before engaging in criminal acts. I'm sure the supporters of the Italian clubs incriminated are at present focusing their minds on their future alegiences !!!

    The long arm of UEFA and FIFA is always ready to pounce and the punishment is severe !

  2. Sir Eski Kanka Jim you do appear naive. This scandal is the big one. Denizli will almost certainly go down a division or two because of this one.

  3. I bet you an evening out on EFES that they don't !!

    The gauntlet is down..... will Oz Kanka pick it up ????

  4. OK, I'm not saying that everything is rosy in the Turkish garden. However, what I am saying is that it is not as big as people make out.

    For example, with FB's financial clout don't you think they would have been able to `fix` a thing or two towards the end of last season ???

    I still go along with the same belief as Spine that it will be `brushed under the carpet` by the TFF and Eski Kanka will enjoy drinking Oz Kanka's EFES !!!!

  5. You lot are all so cynical regarding what might happen to Denizlispor. I reckon they will go after this one as the publicity has been way too big to cover it up.

    That said, if the team involved had been one of the big three a wrap on the wrists would be the most that could be expected.

  6. Too true OZ and perfectly acceptable. After all what is the point of bribing people left right and centre if you get nothing in return!!!!!