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Explanations from Yılmaz Vural: Football, Technology, Fenerbahce

Today, technology, which affects almost every department, has not lagged behind the sports industry. Football was one of the branches that suffered the most from this. In fact, the economic dimension of football has created new requirements. Because a match lost due to fault or even a conceded goal meant millions of Euros. And so, in recent years, many innovations such as VAR and goal line technology have entered football.

While these discussions are still going on today, we, as Webtekno, decided to apply to a specialist. We talked to the technical manager Yılmaz Vural, who has been a technical manager in our country for 36 years, directed more than 780 matches and gave 47 years to football, about his interest in football – technology and sports agenda. Vural, who is actively involved in football both in the old times and today, said, “Technology and science, training information, statistics, analysis, sociology come into play. We need to make use of them. However, the most valuable thing is the intention, integrity and morality of the person who manages this technology. Let’s take a look at how football and technology are intertwined, how it has changed over the years, what developments are on the sports agenda, through the eyes of Professor Yılmaz.

”While Turkey is behind in sports science now, I studied technology and science in Germany”

  • Now, technology has started to be used in every parameter of football. In this sport, which started in muddy areas, you can now even follow the performance criteria of the players such as speed and fatigue. Compared to you, how has everything changed when we compare the old and the new?

​The entry of technology into football ensures that those who use it are one step ahead. I am someone who has lived through both eras. I received training on the technology and science of football in Germany in 1986, during the period when training information was left behind in Turkey compared to Germany. Germany founded the Research and Science Academy in 1982. Later, they built a 12-storey building in Cologne. They brought sports’ relevance to technology, science, and sociology into the lab. Analysis programs, scouting as in basketball, statistics and performance data of players throughout the term were examined. Later, these were further elaborated. Now you enter a statistics site, it introduces the player from being blond with blue eyes to having a straighter left foot. It even suggests players based on the information you enter.

”In these economic difficulties, football cannot accept one more worker”

  • There are also many people who say that technology is not enough for football, which has too much human factor. Well, what kind of changes have happened in terms of technical managers, did it affect your relationship with the players?

If we look at the bad parts, actually this is a game as usual. The player’s self-confidence may drop. Tests are being done to see the deficiencies. The actor is not happy at all when his own weakness is revealed. For example, you can see the player who has a weakness in his right muscle and it is necessary to improve him. Of course, someone needs to be able to use this technology. In these economic difficulties, football cannot accept one more worker. The player’s information is in front of you, but you also need a performance trainer, who can work on eliminating the deficiencies. I became a coach for Gaziantepspor in 1994, under the leadership of Celal Doğan. I brought a goalkeeper trainer, and I was told, ‘Hodja, you should have bought a right-back trainer’. Now a technical manager goes with a group of 7-8 people. It takes 8 hours for us to prepare a program in the light of data, one of our competitor analysis. It’s not a little time.

“In the past, instead of drinking water in the middle of half term, they used to eat lemons”

Technology and science come into play in training information, statistics, analysis, and sociology. We need to make use of them. Football is the most played game after American football. You play 11 of 28 players. Players who are unhappy because they are not playing disrupt the team dynamic. This is where psychology and sociology come into play. In fact, that’s when coaching success emerges. We call it ‘being a team’. For example, before, the players used to warm up themselves, they ate lemons in the middle of the half, they did not drink water. It was said that after science and technology got involved, it was necessary to drink water every 20 minutes. They stated that it is not true to eat acidic things like lemon in the middle of the half. You even need to know how much power your body consumes glycogen, carbohydrates and fat during match meals.

“O football federation! You are refuting yourself with your education!”

  • Technology is constantly advancing, but it is necessary to keep up with these developments. How much harmony do you think Turkish football has achieved with these technological developments, or can we train coaches who will provide harmony?

I always shout loudly about trainer training in Turkey. We cannot train enough trainers. Unfortunately, we do not have trainers who will prepare us well for races between countries. This is not the fault of the trainers. The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has a Training Department, but it is not enough. If it’s enough, you wouldn’t feel the need to bring a foreign coach to the country. Especially to the national team. So why are they bringing it? Just because he knows better than us… If he knows better than us, football federation, you are refuting yourself with your education. I say in an argumentative form, sports in Turkey do not have enough education to highlight our youth amid the youth of Europe and the world. The organizers are responsible for this.

“VAR came to do this job with zero error. The technology you cannot produce is not your technology. We are a country that imitates”

  • There is a system that Turkish football is trying to get used to. VAR system ie ‘Video Assistant Referee’ or ‘Video Assistant Referee’ in our language. Teams supported this system, but there were also voices that it was no longer used.

There is technology, stadiums are being built, but those who use it are people again. If we do not raise human quality, technology falls into class. If a person has no intention, righteousness, and morality, he says no to what technology calls truth. What’s wrong with technology? Technology crosses the line, says goal, man says no. VAR came so that we could do this with zero flaws. How do we fix people? The problem is there. Unfortunately, there is a lot of interest in us. In fact, our country has a lot of potential. We have 18-20 million children in primary and high school age. We must be able to train this dynamic with science and technology. We import technology as we import everything, we cannot produce it. The technology you cannot produce is not your technology. We are a country that imitates, anything that imitates does not look like the original.

“I used to find the VAR system real, but my opinion is about to change…”

  • With FIFA integrating new technologies into football, there has been a debate for years: ‘Has technology killed the spirit of football?’ Do you think he killed it?

Technology is truth, not spirit. It says true or false, it doesn’t stay in the middle. When the soul is involved, he can sometimes call the wrong thing wrong. You make a decision in the VAR system, it takes time until you make that decision. It took exactly 7 minutes for us to decide on a penalty last year and we were relegated. It took 5 minutes to decide whether it was offside or not in another match. Unfortunately, even technology cannot prevent this when people are involved. For example, I thought the VAR system was real, but my opinion is about to change. In a match in England, the referee makes a decision in 1 minute, which is very expected from us. Football is a fluid game. What’s the point of stopping you this long? You can see it from 8 angles. We cannot use VAR well. Naturally, it is a time-consuming process, let’s not be unfair. You have to wait patiently. You lose 3 million TL to the staff with a wrong decision. Technology should definitely be involved in such a precious thing. In today’s world, there is no area where technology has not entered. This is technology and science, but we are behind it. Universities also need to go beyond this and do research and study.

Yılmaz Vural’s favorite football and sports technologies:

The goal line is precious. Maradona scored with his hand, the referee did not see it. He became the world champion with the goal he scored with his hand. Football has become an economy now. Goal line, VAR, these are very valuable. Measuring the data about the personal development of the players, in which technology is in the business, and performance analyzes are also very valuable. The coaches think we have practiced. The respite is over before the coach can tell the footballer’s shortcomings. If you can’t train for the truth, you can’t meet the expectations of today’s people from football. These expectations are pace and speed.

“Fatih Terim is asked different questions, Ömer Erdoğan is asked different questions. ”

  • Technology shows its effect not only on the field, but also outside the field. Now, media and sports interests have gained a different dimension. Social media also got involved. How would you interpret the new media and football interest?

The media in Turkey is a little over the rating. The Muharrir illustrator tells what his audience wants to hear. There is no neatness in this. In order to give the truth information, it is necessary to be intertwined with the media. Looking at the end of the match, the questions asked are different. Fatih Terim is asked different questions, Ömer Erdoğan is asked different questions. Almost every question is asked based on the character of the coach. Is there such a thing? You can’t block social media. I haven’t bought newspapers for years, I follow them from social media and applications. You get the information up-to-date and instantly. Everyone there is free to express their opinion, positive or negative, hey, we even criticize God. You know very well the right and wrong of what you have done. You take those who will guide you on social media very seriously, you ignore others.

“Of course, we want Fenerbahce very much, we have been saying it for years, “Let’s work, we can do it”. ”

  • Not without mentioning the sports agenda. Lastly, you trained a team last term, will we see you on the field again? We have even read the Fenerbahce arguments about you lately. . .

Social media has now become a measure. We become a trend topic 1-2 times a week. People like us everywhere, saying ‘Come to Beşiktaş, come to Galatasaray, come to Fenerbahce’. Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş, which are the most current at the moment, do not have a technical manager and they are in search. Their fans are also talking about us. We also have friends in the administrative council with whom we are close. It’s customary to talk when we meet somewhere. I do not know the agenda of Fenerbahçe’s managers, but the name Yılmaz Vural is very prominent in the agenda of Fenerbahçe fans. Naturally elected managers. However, those selectors should not forget that; I don’t know how wrong things are.

Naturally, we want Fenerbahce very much, we have been saying it for years, “Let’s work, we will do it”. When choosing a coach, popularity and name are taken into account, and foreigners are of great interest to them. I can’t understand this. I also evaluate myself by going back to the past. I am the second most experienced technical manager in Turkey’s official match management count. First Senol Gunes. I managed 780-odd matches in a year without being idle, and these are not the neighborhood teams, but the teams of the Turkish leagues. We have always come here by striving for difficult rules and economic impossibilities. I did not become Yılmaz Vural by coaching a large group. I graduated from two universities, I come from professional football, I have a foreign language, I have European culture. We make jokes from time to time, saying, ‘I also have German citizenship’. They never say our name in valuable duties, that is the other case. I am one of the distinguished people in Turkey who came to a place with knowledge. A survey is being conducted in Turkey, I am in the middle of the 5 most loved and trusted people. So what’s the reason they don’t let us in here?

“We are always ambitious. They don’t give me luck, they get it themselves. ”

No one is giving you what you deserve. Managers and players do not want to be managed, they do not want to work with a dominant coach. When it gets stuck, then they say, ‘Sir, come’. It’s hard, it’s usual, it’s not easy. Some you succeed, some do not. I play football properly, I say from time to time that I can orgasm 50 thousand fans and bring them down to the field. There is something we are thinking about when we say this. This is not something to be said out of the blue. We are always assertive, we do, we succeed. They don’t give me luck, they take it themselves. What luck will it give me, I have come to this age and I have always worked in 30 groups for 36 years. I have worked more than once in some teams, there are places that we repeat. Is it possible for someone else to be in football in this country with more experience than me?

“You see, Stefan brings Kuntz, Mr. Hamit. Bring it, get well”

We’re at this age, it’s a pity. Something will disappear before it can find its value. I feel sorry for it, but the rabbit is upset with the mountain and the mountain doesn’t know. You see, Stefan brings Kuntz, Hamit Bey (Hamit Altıntop). Bring it, be fine. It’s a shame. As a Turk living in Germany, I am one of 3-4 individuals among German coaches. Germany pays us a price, they do not. Let someone go to study abroad, if it’s easy, let them come and see. I am a staff boy. I went to the sports academy by my own means, worked until the morning and wanted physical activity the next day, I finished a school, not with that much music and folk songs, but from scratch. They gave me the right to participate directly in the pro-license just because I finished with a good grade. Germans do this. So it’s outstanding. I am the first pro-license man in Turkey in 1993 and they say, ‘Yılmaz is doing somersaults, I don’t know what he is doing’. This is a revel, the audience is coming to have fun. Despite all my good intentions and efforts, I am saddened.

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