The executive body of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) - the Board of Directors - which has always largely consisted of members or executives of football clubs, has too strong an influence over the organisation and functioning of the Arbitration Committee. Nor do TFF Regulations provide appropriate safeguards to protect members of the Arbitration Committee from any outside pressure.
This case reveals a systemic problem as regards the settlement of football disputes in Turkey. Under Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights (binding force and implementation),the Turkish State must take measures to ensure the structural independence of the Arbitration Committee.
Facts of the cases
The applicants were Ömer Kerim Ali Rıza, a dual British and Turkish national, and Fatih Arslan, Şaban Serin, Mehmet Erhan Berber, and Serkan Akal, Turkish nationals.
Mr Rıza was a football player for Trabzonspor Kulübü Derneği, a club in the top Turkish professional league. He returned to England, his home country, in 2008 and the club brought proceedings against him with the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) for breach of contract. In his defence, he submitted that the club owed him salary arrears and match appearance fees. The TFF Arbitration Committee ultimately found in 2009 that he had wrongfully...
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