Yıldırım dismisses rigging claims, again
A group of Fenerbahçe fans chant slogans and hold banners with the club’s chairman Yıldırım (C) and board member İlhan Ekşioğlu (L) outside the Çağlayan Courthouse.Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım firmly rejected allegations he took part in manipulation of several football games last season, as he continued his defense at the landmark match-fixing case yesterday.
Yıldırım continued responding to the allegations of match fixing after a day’s break in the case.
Arguably the most influential man in Turkish football, the Fenerbahçe chairman is the highest-profile name in the case, which centered on the club’s title-winning 2010-2011 Spor Toto Super League campaign.
According to the indictment prepared by Prosecutor Mehmet Berk, there were attempts to manipulate many of Fenerbahçe’s games and incentives offered to the opponents of rival Trabzonspor, but Yıldırım firmly denied the allegations.
Some board members of the Yıldırım administration were involved in wiretapped conversations regarding a game between Istanbul BB and Trabzonspor with players from the former.
“There are wiretapped phone calls to [players] İbrahim Akın, İskender Alın, Zeki Korkmaz, Metin Depe and Can Arat from Istanbul BB, but there is no evidence that those players got income from incentives,” Yıldırım said, adding that Metin Depe did not even take part in the relevant game due to a suspension.
Fener’s 4-3 win over Sivasspor on the last day of the season is one of the key matches in the case.
Yıldırım brought fake $100 notes to the courthouse to disprove the allegations Sivas players were paid before the title-deciding match.
“The indictment says there are photos with bags, purportedly with $2.5 million in them,” Yıldırım said, before trying to put all the notes into the bag, showing “those amounts would not fit in the bag.”
Yıldırım added that the club’s transfer of Nigerian forward Emmanuel Emenike from Karabük was not done as part of rigging as the indictment alleged, saying the transfer was done in complete accordance with transfer rules.
The judge will consider lawyers’ requests for releases today.
“I don’t care if I am jailed for 10 years,” Yıldırım said. “What matters most is that Fenerbahçe is cleared of the dirt unjustly thrown at it.”