KTFF turned into a political football

The president of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), Yildirim Demiroren has said that they are looking for solutions to the problems of football in North Cyprus and that their primary aim is to secure the recognition of the TRNC’s Football Federation by FIFA.

Demiroren met with President Dervis Eroglu at the Presidential palace in Nicosia yesterday. Also present were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Sport Serdar Denktas, the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot football federation (KTFF), Hasan Sertoglu, the chairman of the clubs’ union, Arslan Bicakli, the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot sport writers’ association, Ogun Kacmaz and other persons involved with Turkish Cypriot football.

Demiroren stated that“we consider the problems of this place as our own” and added: “The problem will definitely be solved, but whatever the form of its solution is, it will be solved within the framework of FIFA’s regulations”.

President Eroglu said that relations between the TFF and the KTFF are problematic because of FIFA and added that what the Turkish Federation can do is limited due to the fact that it is bound by FIFA’s rules, but “it is important for the federations of the two countries to have good relations”.

In his statements, Serdar Denktas said that Eroglu’s initiative highlighted the issue, but it is not possible for the problem to be solved by the TFF because of FIFA’s regulations. He noted that they will launch initiatives, but it does not seem possible for the problem to be solved between the federations. Denktas noted that soon he will hold face to face meeting with officials from the Turkish Ministry of Sports.

On his part, Hasan Sertoglu said that there was a feeling at the meeting that the problem will be solved soon. When he was reminded of the 45-day deadline they had given for the solution of the problem, Sertoglu said that this deadline was given by the general assembly of the clubs and it is not possible for him to annul it, but he expressed the belief that the problem regarding the transfers [of Turkish Cypriot football players to Turkey’s Regional Amateur League (BAL), without the clubs playing in that league paying any money to Turkish Cypriot clubs or acquiring any permit] will be solved between states before the deadline ends.

The issue was further clarified in the statements made by Ogun Kacmaz, who said that, because they cannot go outside FIFA rules, the problem will be solved with a protocol signed between Turkey and North Cyprus. A formula by which the football clubs and the players transferred to Turkey will not be unjustly treated will be produced and funding will be created to solve this issue.

According to ‘Kibris Gazetesi’, after his meeting at Eroglu’s office, Demiroren visited the Turkish Embassy in North Nicosia and met with Ambassador Halil Ibrahim Akca. He then went directly to the airport and departed without visiting the premises of the KTFF.

In a short statement issued by the KTFF after Demiroren’s departure it is noted that many matters concerning football were discussed during the meeting at with President Eroglu and the result was that solution to the problems will be found soon by the competent inter-state authorities.

The visit was extensively covered by Turkish Cypriot columnists yesterday. Sukru Buragan in ‘Kibris Gazetesi’ writes that two conclusions can be drawn from the recent developments. One is that the current situation cannot continue and the second is that joining international organisations is a must and this can happen only through the Cyprus Football Association (KOP) and not through TFF.

Writing in Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Yeni Duzen’, Cenk Mutluyakali notes that “there is no solution, there is only a show”. He argues that it could be nothing more dangerous than dragging a sports issue into the political arena and accuses Eroglu of using the issue in his propaganda for the elections. Pointing out that FIFA recognises only one football federation in Cyprus, Mutluyakali recalls that autonomy is the issue about which FIFA, UEFA and other international sports organisations are more sensitive than any other issue. He argues that Eroglu “caused great harm” to the KTFF with the picture he has presented.

In his column in ‘Yeni Duzen’, Hasan Ecer asks what happened to the text they had signed with KOP during their joint meeting with FIFA and what have they done for their international representation in sports? “Have we not said that we will not include politics in sports?” he wonders and asks why Eroglu interfered in this issue.

Writing in ‘Havadis’, Mustafa Ozsoy describes Demiroren’s statements as “fairy tales” and points out that no TV station in Turkey covered Demiroren’s visit to the TRNC. Only the news item sent by Anatolia news agency was published on some websites and nothing more, he says adding that “in brief we once more came face to face with the reality that Turkey will not support us in the field of sports”.



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