The new president of the Turkish Football Association (TFF), Yıldırım Demirören, has visited the House of European Football in Nyon.
Mr Demirören, who was accompanied by the TFF second vice-president Servet Yardımcı, held talks with UEFA President Michel Platini, UEFA first vice-president Şenes Erzik and senior UEFA officials on various issues, including the help given by UEFA to Turkey under its HatTrick assistance programme.
Mr Demirören was elected unopposed as the 41st president of the TFF last month, and has vast experience in football administration, having spent many years with Beşiktaş JK where he was a board member, vice-president and director of football before serving as club president from 2004 until 2012. He has also worked as chairman of Turkey's association of top-division clubs.
The meeting in Nyon gave Mr Demirören the opportunity to explain the TFF's activities and objectives to the European body, while in turn enabling UEFA to brief the TFF delegation on assistance projects and other aspects of the excellent relationship between the two bodies.
Turkey and the city of Istanbul will be hosting the XXXVI Ordinary UEFA Congress on Thursday 22 March, preceded by a meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee on 20 and 21 March.
"It's a great honour to come to UEFA to meet the President – it's important to have a good relationship with UEFA," said Mr Demirören, who together with Mr Yardımcı emphasised the commitment of the TFF to take football in Turkey forward in the future. "One of our tasks will be to ensure that the clubs are financially sustainable going forward," said Mr Yardımcı.
"Obviously we are looking at our youth background to ensure there are youngsters coming through regularly," Mr Yardımcı added. "We are also modernising our stadiums, with the government helping to fund football infrastructures. We are trying to modernise football in Turkey so that we are a good example to our neighbouring countries."
Turkey's example on the field has already proved an outstanding example for other countries to follow. At youth level, Turkey won the UEFA European Under-18 Championship in 1992 and two years later the U16 crown. At senior level, a third-place finish at the 2002 FIFA World Cup was followed by a memorable run to the UEFA EURO 2008 semi-finals – the latter a wonderfully exciting adventure that thrilled football enthusiasts. Istanbul has also proudly staged the 2005 UEFA Champions League final – the unforgettable tussle between Liverpool FC and AC Milan – as well as the 2009 UEFA Cup final.
"We would like our national team to win the World Cup," Mr Demirören said in identifying his dreams for the Turkish game. "And for a club to win the UEFA Champions League – we believe we can do that."
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