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Fenerbahçe fans invade pitch, game abandoned

ANKARA - The Associated Press | 7/22/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Hundreds of Fenerbahçe fans, angry over match-fixing allegations against their club, invaded the pitch during a friendly against Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk, forcing the abandonment of the game.

Hundreds of Fenerbahçe fans, angry over match-fixing allegations against their club, invaded the pitch during a friendly against Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk, forcing the abandonment of the game.

At a time when the country's football federation is pondering whether to postpone the start of the league due to the corruption turmoil, Fenerbahçe fans, some wearing masks and T-shirts bearing the picture of jailed club president Aziz Yıldırım, invaded the pitch in the 67th minute of Thursday's game at Fenerbahçe's Sukru Saracoglu stadium.

Media representatives were evacuated from the stadium after being abused by fans who are angry at media coverage of a match fixing probe that implicated Yildirim and Fenerbahçe along with some other club officials and players, newspapers said Friday.

The game came hours after Yıldırım said in a letter that he would step down.

The Turkish Football Federation on Tuesday postponed the Turkish Super Cup final between Fenerbahce and Beşiktaş because both teams are implicated in the match-fixing probe which is investigating 19 first-and second-division games from last season.

Federation president Mehmet Aydınlar said the scheduled league start on Aug. 5 would be evaluated. He later said he was personally against an early August start due to hot weather.

The prosecutor's office in Istanbul has provided the federation with the testimony and related documents of about 30 suspects in the match-fixing probe. Potential sanctions include stripping Fenerbahçe of last season's title and relegating the team to the second division.

Fenerbahçe won 16 of 17 league matches in the latter part of the season to come from a distant third place and claim a record 18th title, beating Trabzonspor only on goal difference. Now, the club risks losing its league title in the same manner as Italian club Juventus, which was stripped of its 2005 and 2006 Serie A championships because of a similar scandal.

Turkey is the latest country to be affected by a slew of match-fixing and betting scandals around the globe, from South Korea to Zimbabwe.

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