Bringing together the chairman and senior managers of the FIFA member federations, FIFA Football Summit was held today in Istanbul.
Organized in Shangri-La Bosphorus Hotel, the summit featured many senior representatives from the member countries including FIFA Chairman Gianni Infantino, Turkish Football Federation (TFF) Chairman.
The goal of the summit was establishing a basis for the FIFA reforms in the future. At the end of the summit, Chairman Demirören and Infantino held a joint press conference and replied to the questions posed by the press. UEFA Board Member and TFF 1st Deputy Chairman Servet Yardımcı, TFF Board Member Alaattin Aykaç as well as Secretary-General Kadir Kardaş participated in the meeting.
Demirören: "Our joint projects will FIFA will continue in an increasing fashion"
TFF Chairman Yıldırım Demirören delivered the speech below at the press meeting:
Today we host FIFA, the highest board of the world football, and chairman Infantino in Istanbul.
We are delighted to host them and would like to extend our warmest welcome to them in Turkey.
We would like to thank Mr. Infantino and the administration for visiting İstanbul, where the heart of football lies today.
Hosting such an event is a honour for Turkey, which is among the top 6 economies in the world and is a rising football star regarding the organizations held.
FIFA Summits remain important meetings where the foundations for the future FIFA reforms are laid.
These meetings contribute greatly to strengthening the friendship, peace and brotherhood principles of football.
As TFF, we are doing our best not only to mainstream these principles but also to enjoy a leading role in Fair Play.
As far as we are concerned, football remains the common language of peace. Needless to say, our fight against the elements destroying football such as violence, rigging, illegal bets, racism and doping will always go on.
As the 26th member of FIFA, Turkey has always had good relations with FIFA throughout the period of 94 years.
I am fully confident that this cooperation will continue and increase through joint projects.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Infantino once again and greet you all with respect.
Infantino: "It has been a productive football summit"
Beginning his speech with expressing thanks to TFF, Infantino has said that they would like to thank all the federation employees and Turkey for being such nice hosts: "There are representatives here today from three continents, namely Europe, Asia and Africa. We have conducted various studies regarding the future and it has been a productive football summit."
Saying that they talked about the football during the summit, Infantino has explained that they discussed what they can do for the setups of young men and women teams: "We will do our best for new footballers to emerge from the youth setups. We have especially discussed on ways to nourish development of women's football outside Europe as well as the programs we will organize in the years to come. So far 1.4 billion USD have been distributed for football projects. Over half of the FIFA member federations have been received support through these revenues. We have discussed the future of the transfer system and talked about the international match calendar on clubs and national teams basis in addition to the selections of the footballers for the national teams. We will hold meetings in Colombia in March 2018 and then in June 2018 in Russia."
"Turkey can be very good host for the 2024 European Football Championship"
In reply to a question, Gianni Infantino has said that Turkey, which is running as a candidate to host the 2024 European Football Championship, will do a very nice host for the 2024 European Football Championship but then added that the final decision lies with the UEFA board.
Infantino has noted that it is important that the TFF has announced its candidacy: "Turkey was very successful in the past too and will do a very nice host, can organize the event well. Of course the final decision lies with the UEFA board and they have a hard task ahead. There are two countries running as candidates. It is a tough process. UEFA will either go beyond new horizons or will choose a familiar country to host the event. Good luck to Turkey and Germany."
Reminding that he is the chairman of FIFA and that he does not take part in decisions regarding the European Championship, Infantino has gone on the say that it is not up to him to choose which country will be the host: "But Turkey will come either first or second. She will win a gold or silver medal. There are only two countries that will come first and second. I am very much impressed by Turkey's infrastructure and the new stadiums built. Football remains important in Turkey, it is like a religion and even goes beyond religion. It enjoys such a sacred thing for Turkey. The interest held in Turkey for Turkey is a passion. Turkey is a country of football and this is a wonderful thing. Turkey is a county that enjoys football in her DNA."
In reply to another question regarding the specific case of Tolgay Arslan, who expects to play on behalf of Turkey, and about the footballers that would like to play for other countries after having played for a different national team, Infantino has said that they are discussing the case of the footballers that have played in different national teams: "There are different ideas. Getting a footballer playing for your country is also a source of pride in a sense. Maybe we should keep that wish. We need to be rigid regarding the rules. There might be exceptions of course. A footballer has played in any national team during the World Cup and then will play for other national teams. We need to safeguard the values present. Playing by heart, feeling proud remains among the important values of football. You really play for the country you belong to. We live in a global world and different cases might happen."
Stressing that they need to revise the case of the football managers, Infantino has commented that the managerial system needs to be very transparent: "It is right for everyone to make the money they deserve in return for their jobs but this issue needs to be regulated. We will revise this issue next year."
In reply to the question whether there are any rules regarding football that need to be changed,
Infantino has pointed to Yıldırım Demirören next to him and said that Demirören wishes foe offside rule to end: "And also there should not be any referees. Then without the two, all the problems will be resolved. Football is a nice sports branch and once you have decided to change a thing, you need to think it over hundreds of times. We do not need to change a thing. Various ideas are voiced and tests are run. Yes, some changes can be made but there is a long way ahead for these changes to take place."
Infantino has finally mentioned that there will be 48 football teams to run in the 2026 World Cup and that these 48 teams will be placed in groups of 16 clubs. He also joked that the reason for the 48 teams to run in the 2026 World Cup is because Turkey was not present and that Italy also did not participate in it.
After the press meeting held, Yıldırım Demirören and Gianni Infantino exchanged gifts.