Match-fixing arrests shake Turkish football

Fenerbahce president, senior officials and players at several top clubs held in Turkish match-fixing investigation.

Fenerbahce confirmed that club president Aziz Yildirim had been detained as part of match-fixing inquiries [EPA]

Turkish police have arrested at least 40 people, including the president and vice-president of Turkish champions Fenerbahce, in connection with a football match-fixing scandal.

Police moved to arrest the officials and players on Sunday after investigating Fenerbahce’s final match of the season against Sivasspor. Fenerbahce, of Istanbul, won that match 4-3 to help them win the title.

Fenerbahce’s president, Aziz Yildirim, and vice-president, Sekip Mosturoglu, were among those detained in raids in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, Sivas and Bolu.

Other football officials arrested included Sivasspor’s president, Mecnun Odyakmaz, Eskisehirspor’s technical director, Bulent Uygun, and sporting director, Umit Karan, according to the Anatolia news agency.

Police are also investigating a match between Fenerbahce and Eskisehirspor, Dogan news agency reported.

Nigeria’s Emmanuel Emenike, who recently transferred to Fenerbahce from Karabukspor in a deal worth $9m, was also detained, according to Dogan.

Officials from Izmir’s Altay club, players from Sivasspor and Genclerbirligi clubs, and a relative of Fenerbahce midfielder Emre Belozoglu were also detained, the agency reported.

In a statement, Fenerbahce confirmed that Yildirim had been detained, along with “many important sportsmen”.

“We would like to stress our trust in our legal system once again, wishing that the truth will come on as soon as possible. Everyone should know that Fenerbahce Sports Club has never been and will never be engaged in any unlawful and illegal activity. We are proud of our clean and victorious past.”

Yuksel Gunay, a Fenerbahce official, reacted angrily to Yildirim’s detention.

“This is ugly,” the Anatolia news agency quoted Gunay as saying. “I have no qualms in saying that this is a police state. This is ugly. What match-fixing are they looking for?”

In April, Turkey introduced tough legislation to battle hooliganism and cheating in football, including a maximum 12-year prison sentence for match-fixing.

Fenerbahce are one of Turkey’s most successful and best supported clubs, winning 27 league titles and regularly appearing in the UEFA Champions League.

Source: News Agencies

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