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FIFA finds rigging evidence in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires | 7/21/2011 12:00:00 AM |

World football’s governing body has found evidence of match fixing in Turkey that is connected to games elsewhere, FIFA’s head of security was reported as saying Thursday.

World football’s governing body has found evidence of match fixing in Turkey that is connected to games elsewhere, FIFA’s head of security was reported as saying Thursday.

Speaking to Turkey’s A Haber television channel, Chris Eaton, who is responsible for overseeing FIFA’s attempts to tackle corruption, said the organization had found evidence that there was rigging in Turkey connected to other cases in the world.

“I would like to share those connections with Turkish authorities,” Eaton said. “I want to work with the Turkish Football Federation and the Turkish Police on the case after I make the evidence clear.”

Turkey has recently seen two separate match-fixing cases. The first one was connected to a large investigation in Germany and saw 34 people being handed bans. The second one is currently ongoing and has resulted in Istanbul police declaring that 19 matches in Turkey’s top two leagues were manipulated last year, as well as the detention of 80 people and the arrest of 26 more.

Five officials from Spor Toto Super League champion Fenerbahçe, including Chairman Aziz Yıldırım, are jailed pending trial, while runner-up Trabzonspor president Sadri Şener was released pending trial.

The Ethics Committee of the Turkish Football Federation, or TFF, will decide on the fate of teams that were allegedly involved in match fixing.

Eaton was speaking following the conclusion of a trial in Finland this week which saw a Singaporean national sentenced to prison for match fixing in the country’s premier football league.

Wilson Raj Perumal was sentenced by a court in Rovaniemi, the regional capital of Lapland, to two years in prison and damages of 150,000 euros for masterminding match fixing with the help of nine former football players for Rovaniemi football club RoPS.

The players, seven Zambians and two Georgians, were convicted of suspended sentences ranging from six months to one year and eight months, and damages totaling more than 200,000 euros.

Eaton, a former Interpol officer, said FIFA was studying a range of measures to try and tackle match fixing.

These included briefing players at under-17 and under-20, considered to be among the most vulnerable, prior to FIFA competitions.

“These people are criminals, they are organized,” Eaton said to Agence France-Presse. “They are well funded and have a long-term plan. They are a real and present danger to the sanctity and ethics of sport. I would not understate its seriousness.”

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