Dogan driving Turkish football
© FIFA.com

The newly elected President of the Turkish Football Association (TFF), Hasan Dogan, who was appointed on 15 February, paid a visit to the FIFA headquarters in Zurich on 19 March 2008.

Accompanied by Senes Erzik, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, TFF vice presidents Lutfi Aribogan and Mahmut Ozgener, and TFF General Secretary Metin Kazancioglu, he met with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, General Secretary Jerome Valcke and Director of International Relations Jerome Champagne.

Dogan already served as TFF vice-president in 2004-2005 and thus makes his return to football, 'which has always been a part of my life,' he said. Elected with the support of 18 of Turkey's elite clubs, this businessman, whose interests range from textiles and real estate to newspapers and television, has by his own admission 'left business to one side in order to devote myself solely to football' since his appointment. He told FIFA.com about his vision for the future of Turkish football.

FIFA.com: Mr Dogan, could you tell us the aim of your visit to FIFA?
Hasan Dogan:
I came to meet with President Blatter and to pay my first visit to FIFA since my election as head of the Turkish Football Association. After thanking the FIFA President for his support, I shared my ideas and objectives with him.

What were the areas of discussion?
First of all we touched on the statutes of the Turkish FA, which we are in the process of finalising, because up until now the TFF was governed by state legislation. We established the dates on which the changes will be brought into effect. For his part, Mr Blatter expressed his satisfaction at seeing the Turkish national team qualify for EURO 2008 right here in Switzerland, and he also congratulated me on Fenerbahce's qualification for the quarter-finals of the Champions League. In a nutshell, he was delighted at the success of Turkish football.

What is your objective as head of the TFF?
I hope to develop Turkish football in a number of areas, including education, refereeing, coaches and players. I asked FIFA to provide the necessary support and cooperation to help me achieve two main objectives. The first is to strengthen football at grassroots level nationwide, and we are working on a number of different projects to achieve this. Secondly, and on a practical level, I want to equip Turkey with ten new stadiums over the next three years. Turkish football has now reached a very high standard, so the infrastructures must keep pace with this improvement. The supporters have the right to modern and comfortable stadiums, where they can better appreciate the sport that they love.

Would you say that Fenerbahce's performance in the UEFA Champions League is a sign that Turkish football is going from strength to strength?
Fenerbahce's qualification for the quarter-finals, their first since the new Champions League format was introduced, is a clear sign that Turkish football is booming, although this comes as no surprise. Turkish people have long been crazy about the game, the national football economy is thriving and it's no longer a surprise to anyone when our clubs or national teams achieve success.

And what will be the goal of theTurkeynational team at EURO 2008?
I think we'll have the same aim as the other 15 qualified teams, which is to bring the trophy home.