There has not been a week in the Turkish Super League this season where referee decisions did not wreak havoc. The new Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) system was supposed to suppress the speculations over on-field decisions, but rather it has just added another layer to it. Despite the advanced technology, the Turkish Central Referee Committee (MHK) has not convinced fans and the media that the decisions are free of fraud and the errors are not being made deliberately. Executives, who see that the fans and the media are ready to believe in conspiracy theories, increase the level of hostility and anger in their speeches. Thus, what we now have is a league ready to explode with the next refereeing disaster.
This is totally unacceptable as the MHK is the second most important organization in Turkish football after the Turkish Football Federation (TFF). After being accused of conspiring against all teams in Turkey, the MHK has rushed some decisions that further deteriorated the situation. Its chairman, Yusuf Namoğlu tried to relieve the pressure by punishing referees and replacing people in the administration, but these decisions cannot be long-term solutions. By throwing new reserves on the frontline and hoping that they will become successful is not a good strategy for an organization that already has a scarcity of high-quality referees. What the MHK needs to understand is that appeasing the spoiled executives will only worsen the situation, and to convince the fans and the media they need to return fire.
Firstly, the allegations of fraud and match-fixing are simply absurd as there has not been any clear evidence. All teams claim that there is a conspiracy against them but somehow these theories only come up whenever they lose a game. Does it sound logical that a refereeing committee is plotting against each and every team in a country? According to Turkish teams, which think they are always the victim, this is the case. Hence, the MHK is innocent and whoever speaks about conspiracy theories should come with evidence.
Then, why does the MHK keep appeasing these clubs and tries to adapt to their illogical demands? The answer is simple - millions of fans support their teams even if they win unjustly, but no one supports the MHK for being just and for doing their job.
The sense of enlightened self-interest and the common good are unfortunately absent in Turkish football. As long as they are winning, no one cares about the MHK but when they lose, it is all about the referees. Even Medipol Başakşehir, a team that usually stays away from these controversies, released a statement about the "questionable referee decisions" after they lost two points against lowly Erzurumspor.
At this point, to maintain the order and the stability of Turkish football, the iron fist of the state must intervene to bring these spoiled executives back in line. As long as the MHK is alone in this chaos, it is a losing fight for Turkish football. After having established the local financial fair play system, it is now time to keep referees safe from lynching.
Without high-quality referees, the situation will only get worse, and the only way to have them is to protect them. Of course, any error should be studied and lessons must be learned, but for the sake of everyone who cares about Turkish football, we need to create a healthy working condition for referees.
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