Fener chief again rejects rigging case

Fener chief again rejects rigging case

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Fener chief again rejects rigging case

Yıldırım gave his first televised interview since being released from prison. AA photo

Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım reiterated his claim that the match-fixing case had different motivations in his first televised interview after being released from Metris Prison.

He said he did not want to talk too much about the issue since the case is still awaiting appeal, but said he would give all the details afterward. Earlier this summer, Yıldırım was sentenced for six years and three months in prison for match fixing, but was released for time served – one year – in prison.

“That case is not about match-fixing, this is about something else,” Yıldırım said, referring to a popular belief among Fenerbahçe supporters that it was a plot to overtake the coveted hot seat at the club.

The case alleged that 19 matches were manipulated in the 2010-2011 season but only three players were given suspensions by the Turkish Football Federation.

“Can you fix 19 games with three players? Do you manipulate a game with just one player fixed?” asked Yıldırım.

He also noted two failures in recent Fenerbahçe history.

“We have lost titles on the last day twice [in 2006 and 2010],” Yıldırım said. “If I was able to do [match-fixing], would we lose those titles?”

Yıldırım also spoke about the service he had done during the 14 years he spent as the Fenerbahçe chairman, especially in branches besides football.

“We won the world title in women’s volleyball, the European title in table tennis. We sent 18 athletes to the [2012 London] Olympics,” he said. “Fenerbahçe is the only big club that is sacrificing to do service to Turkish sports. Now other teams should sacrifice, too.”

Yıldırım also said he was working on a stadium project that would bring “$200 or $300 million a year.” Another project is to increase the number of club members to 1 million as well as increasing the club’s budget to $1 billion.