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TURKEY > Parties join forces to lighten bans for match fixers

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News

Fenerbahçe chairman chairman Aziz Yıldırım is jailed pending trial with allegations of involvement in match fixing.

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Fenerbahçe chairman chairman Aziz Yıldırım is jailed pending trial with allegations of involvement in match fixing.

Parliament’s four political parties have approved a proposal to amend the law on violence in sports in a move that could lead the way to lighter punishments for suspects in an ongoing match-fixing case.

The vice presidents of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) signed and presented it to the head office of Parliament, Anatolia News Agency reported. The proposal foresees a change in the articles of the law on violence which led to the arrests of 31 club officials, players and coaches after the match-fixing investigation started July 3.

The investigation started in late 2010 after a new law on violence in sports came into effect. The law includes several articles on match-fixing along with articles related to crowd trouble.

According to the law, those found guilty of involvement in match fixing would face five to 12 years in jail, but if the amendments are accepted, the jail-time would be decreased to between one and three years. Such a development would mean the rigging suspects would be tried without arrest.

High-profile names

Last season’s Spor Toto Super League champion Fenerbahçe, runner-up Trabzonspor and Ziraat Turkish Cup winner Beşiktaş are the three high-profile teams involved in the case, and all risk being relegated from the top flight for the first time in their history. The Super League’s Sivasspor, Eskişehirspor and Istanbul BB, as well as League One sides Giresunspor and Diyarbakırspor, have also been involved in the case.

Many high-profile names, including Chairman Aziz Yıldırım and Vice-chairman Şekip Mosturoğlu of Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş coach Tayfur Havutçu and board member Serdal Adalı, Sivasspor chairman Mecnun Odyakmaz and goalkeeper Korcan Çelikay, as well as former Eskişehirspor coach Bülent Uygun, are all in jail pending trial.

Despite the proposed softening of the law, lifetime bans on those found guilty of match fixing would remain in effect.

The amendments would apply to match fixing and would not be applied to those who are charged with forming illegal organizations – a charge that has been leveled against some suspects in the case.

The prosecutor’s indictment for the match-fixing case is currently being prepared and is expected to arrive later this month.

November/17/2011

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