Turkish Football Federation boss Demirören resigns

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 28.02.2019 15:35
Updated 28.02.2019 20:39
emIHA Photo/em
IHA Photo

The President of the Turkish Football Federation Yıldırım Demirören announced Thursday that he was resigning from his post after serving for seven years.

His resignation comes amid mounting criticism over his participation in the tender to operate Iddaa, Turkey's only legal sports betting company.

In a statement, Demirören said he was officially resigning from the post, in which he served since February 26, 2012, now that the transfer of contract for Iddaa and Misli.com to be incorporated into Demirören Holding had been legally completed.

Demirören said he was leaving as not to overshadow Turkish football or give rise to new disputes, thanking his fellow TFF board members, current and past sports ministers, team coaches, players, the sports community and media for providing their full support. He also thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan especially for his faith in him and continuous support.

TFF Vice President Hüsnü Güreli will be in charge until the new president is elected in June 2019.

Many argued it was wrong for someone chosen to represent Turkish football to get involved in the business side of the sector, calling the bidding by Demirören's conglomerate "unethical."

Şans Girişim, owned by TFF head Demirören, and its U.S.-based partner Scientific Games won the bid to operate the betting platform two weeks ago, after offering to take 0.2 percent of revenues in Iddaa.

A venture including Turkish mobile phone company Turkcell had made the second highest bid for a 0.5 percent commission.

Soon after Demirören's resignation and clearing of a potential hurdle before the country's Competition Authority (RK), the Sports Lottery Organization Presidency (Spor Toto) announced that the 10-year tender is awarded to the Şans Girişim venture.

The Demirören Group, in which Demirören serves as board chairman, is active in the energy, mining, manufacturing, construction, tourism and real estate sectors. Demirören was also the former chairman of Istanbul giant Beşiktaş.

The group added Doğan Group's media properties, including Hürriyet and Posta newspapers and TV stations Kanal D and CNN Türk, to their portfolio in 2018. It previously acquired Turkish newspapers Milliyet and Vatan from Doğan in May 2011. The holding also owns a licensed website providing Iddaa betting options.

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