Ball is on Football Federation’s court to decide match-fixing case

Ball is on Football Federation’s court to decide match-fixing case

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Ball is on Football Federation’s court to decide match-fixing case

Fenerbahçe Vice Chairman Nihat Özdemir (L) shakes hands with TFF chief Yıldırım Demirören. Fener boss Aziz Yıldırım (inset) is jailed pending trial as part of case. DHA photo

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) is set to decide on possible sanctions in the ongoing match-fixing case, after the Ethics Committee presented its report on April 26. The TFF convened in the southern province of Antalya to decide on its roadmap after the Ethics Committee concluded its months-long preparations for the report. The extraordinary meeting may mean the TFF is to decide soon on whether to punish teams and individuals involved in the match-fixing case or not.

“The Committee has reached a conclusion as to whether match-fixing or attempted match-fixing took place, and for some games, there was not enough evidence to reach a conclusion,” a statement released by the Ethics Committee said.

A total of 93 club officials, players and coaches are listed as suspects in the match-fixing case, which started after Istanbul police found that at least a dozen games were allegedly manipulated last season. After the case became public on July 3, 2011, there were many speculations about possible sanctions on the teams allegedly involved in match-fixing, including Spor Toto Super League champion Fenerbahçe, runner-up Trabzonspor, Ziraat Turkish Cup winner Beşiktaş, cup finalist Istanbul BB and more, but the TFF did not make an immediate decision in the case.

The Ethics Committee announcement underlined that its report is not definitive, but will help to clarify the situation for the Disciplinary Committee of the TFF. The Turkish media published contrasting reports on the Ethics Committee’s report, which was not leaked in its entirety. Some newspapers claimed the report ruled there were no evidence on match-fixing. Daily Hürriyet, however, reported that the Ethics Committee ruled five matches were manipulated last season. According to the article, Fenerbahçe’s matches against Istanbul BB, Sivasspor and Ankaragücü were allegedly manipulated, while the club allegedly paid incentives to Eskişehirspor when playing against Trabzonspor. It was added that Trabzonspor also attempted to pay incentives to Sivasspor in the title-deciding game against Fenerbahçe.

The report was released on the day when Fenerbahçe withdrew its appeal against its exclusion from the Champions League, hinting there could be some backdoor negotiations regarding the match-fixing case.