Fenerbahçe fans set for rally as chair applies to top court
Aziz Yıldırım demanded a halt to the execution of the sentence on claims that “the right for a fair trial” was violated. CİHAN PhotoFenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım has appealed to the Constitutional Court to battle his match-fixing conviction, as the club’s fans prepare for a rally ahead of their match this weekend.
Yıldırım, whose six-years, three-month prison sentence for match-fixing was approved by the Supreme Court of Appeals last month, demanded a halt to the execution of the sentence on claims that “the right for a fair trial” was violated. The Fenerbahçe chairman’s lawyers also claimed the Turkish law on violence and match-fixing in sports, No. 6222, was against the Constitution.
The appeal came amid Fenerbahçe fans’ plans to hold a large protest against the match-fixing case.
Yıldırım, who spent a year behind bars after being arrested on charges of attempting to manipulate the 2010-2011 Spor Toto Super League and leading an unarmed criminal gang, faces at least two years in prison if his conviction goes ahead.
The Supreme Court’s ruling means Yıldırım can no longer serve as a club official, according to the code for football club administrations. The initial sanction had required the approval of the Court of Appeals to go into effect.
Last month, the Supreme Court of Appeals announced its match-fixing ruling, also finding Fenerbahçe officials İlhan Ekşioğlu, Şekip Mosturoğlu, Tamer Yelkovan and Cemil Turan guilty of manipulating several games during the 2010-2011 Turkish championship.
All officials from Trabzonspor, who lost the 2010-2011 Spor Toto Super League title to Fenerbahçe on goal difference, were cleared of match-fixing attempt charges.
The sentence of former Giresunspor chairman Olgun Peker, who was listed as the number one suspect in the case and was sentenced to two years and six months for forming and leading a criminal gang, was approved.
The investigation also involved a number of players and officials from Beşiktaş, Eskişehirspor, Sivasspor, Giresunspor and Diyarbakırspor, and the Supreme Court also upheld the decisions on them. The Turkish Football Federation (TFF), however, did not punish any of the clubs, saying that even though there were efforts to manipulate games, this was “not reflected on the pitch.”
Fenerbahçe fans have long claimed that the match-fixing case was a plot to take over the club. They have staged several street protests along with rallies outside the courthouse during the hearings, some of which have faced severe police interventions.
The fans are now planning to gather on Istanbul’s Anatolian side before their Super League game against Kasımpaşa on Feb. 16.
Earlier on Feb. 16, Beşiktaş will face Bursaspor and Akhisar will play Kayseri Erciyesspor. On Feb. 15, Kardemir Karabükspor hosts Trabzonspor and Kayserispor takes on Gençlerbirliği.