Time to Protest
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
A very bad flu hit me over the last few weeks. Only now, after some great care at Brock University where I was a visiting scholar, am I slowly staggering back to my feet.
I will pick up the series ‘The Sports Corruption Industry and the Great Cover Up’ very soon. However, for the moment, I wanted to offer my support to the Turkish supporters who protested at Nyon appealing for UEFA to give more help in the clean-up of Turkish football.
A quick review, it is very difficult to overstate the depths of corruption in Turkish football: it is even more difficult to overstate how badly the Turkish football authorities have bent over backwards to excuse the fixing; and it is even more difficult to understand how anyone could regard Turkish domestic football with any credibility.
There are various fan groups – some independent, some linked to clubs – who are appealing for stricter sanctions against corruption and jail sentences for the people who have been convicted of fixing or attempting to fix matches. This weekend, a group connected to Trabzonspor protested in front of UEFA’s headquarters. I do not support Trabzonspor, in any way. I do not think they should be given the league championship title. I think that the title should be forever marked as ‘not awarded’ as a symbol of how bad corruption has become in Turkish football. However, I do want to say that I support any credible efforts to clean up Turkish football. The sport in that country has gone from an embarrassment to a scandal to, now, a very bad joke.
By the way, if any Western Europeans are reading this blog and feeling a little smug. I assure you that many European sports officials treat fixing and corruption in exactly the same way. Take a look at the ‘sentences’ handed out to some players and coaches in Italy for fixing games. Some of those people would be out of the game longer if they had pulled their hamstrings then aided a fixed match. You can see that we are entering a stage, in some leagues, of endemic corruption. It may be time for football fans across Europe to start imitating their Turkish colleagues and protest about the levels of corruption that are in our beloved sport.