Erdogan calls for TFF to follow 'Thatcher example' & ban Turkish teams from Europe for five years

The Turkish prime minister feels that the country's teams could benefit from a prolonged absence in Uefa competition
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for the country's Football Association (TFF) to deal out heavy-handed punishments for the current match-fixing scandal, following the example set by Margaret Thatcher.

English teams were excluded from Uefa competition for a total of five years after the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985, and Erdogan believes that similar sanctions could benefit Turkish football in the long run.

"Under [former British prime minister] Margaret Thatcher, English teams were banned from Europe for five years," he stated according to Hurriyet Daily News.

"What happened when the English teams did not play in Europe? They went on to do very well. They lifted trophies when they came back."

However, the 58-year-old's views were not shared by all, with Galatasaray president Unal Aysal voicing quick opposition to the comments.

"Turkish football is deeply-wounded. If we can't compete in the Champions League, there'll be severe financial consequences," he told Milliyet.

"Moreover, the penalty would have an effect on football in the country. If we take a five-year break from Europe, we'd fall behind Azerbaijan."

Meanwhile, Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim's appeal to be released from prison has been rejected.

The 59-year-old has been behind bars since July for his alleged involvement in the scandal, and is currently on trial, seeking to clear his name.