Turkish Cypriot football refuses Turkey, instead joining Greek Cypriot side

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The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Football Federation (KTFF) strongly rejects the Turkish Football Federation’s (TFF) attempt to open a branch office in Nicosia, and will be announcing its petition to join the Greek Cyprus Football Association (KOP) on Monday.

The outrage by Turkish Cypriot football clubs, totaling around 42, against Turkey over losing their players for free to Turkish league clubs with no transfer fees, has prompted the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Football Federation (KTFF) to announce that it will be joining the Greek Cyprus Football Association (KOP) instead.

The problem stems from the fact that the Turkish side of the island is only recognized as a country by Turkey, which inevitably limits in international exposure in many areas, including football. The KTFF has no official status at the football’s governing bodies FIFA and the UEFA. Therefore players need to leave the Turkish side of the island to play international football.

In order to resolve the transfer fee issue, Turkish Football Federation (TFF) President Yıldırım Demirören applied to football’s international governing body FIFA to open a branch office in Nicosia, a suggestion which was met with harsh resistance by the KTFF and ultimately rejected by FIFA.

Two years ago, with FIFA acting as a mediator between the two sides of the divided island, the KOP accepted the membership from the KTFF; however the membership never materialized over strong reaction by nationalist circles on the island. KTFF President Hasan Sertoğlu once again brought up the KOP membership last month over the growing rift with the TFF over the transfer fee issue.

The KTFF will be announcing at a press conference on Monday the petition it is sending FIFA for KOP membership, which if approved will make the KOP the only international authority on football in North Cyprus.

According to the agreement signed in Zurich in November 2013, the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation will be accepted as a natural member of the Greek Cypriot Federation, thus making all the Turkish teams natural members of the Cypriot league. The Turkish Federation will be allowed a spot in the management of the Greek Cypriot Federation, and the Turkish Federation will be able to organize international matches with the permission of the Greek side.

The move is particularly shocking given the fact that the island of Cyprus has been divided between the Greeks and Turks since 1974 when a brief Greek-inspired coup prompted Turkey to invade the northern part of the island.

Turkey is the only country which recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Negotiations to solve the diplomatic status of Cyprus have remained troublesome for decades. Most recently gas reserves which had been discovered and explored by the Greek side have caused another rift with Turkey when it sent an exploration ship, a move which was perceived by the Greek Cypriots as intimidation.

March 28, 2015 | BGNNews.com | İstanbul

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2 Comments

  1. Costa ConstantiCosta Constanti said:

    It’s actually ‘Kibris Turk Football Federasyon’ not TRNC :)

  2. Costas Yennaris said:

    Unfortunately your otherwise correct report, looses out on a factual mistake. The Turkish Cypriot Football Association will not be joining the GREEK -as so wrongly you state in your report- football federation, but the CYPRIOT Federation of Football. In fact the Turkish Cypriot Federation will be RETURNING to a Federation it use to be a member of until the Turkish Army of Occupation forced them to withdraw. And hopefully this would be a step towards the full reunification of the country.

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