Fenerbahçe chairman says Galatasaray won 2000 UEFA Cup 'with Gülen's prayers'

Fenerbahçe chairman says Galatasaray won 2000 UEFA Cup 'with Gülen's prayers'

Fenerbahçe chairman says Galatasaray won 2000 UEFA Cup with Gülens prayers

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Fenerbahçe chairman Aziz Yıldırım has claimed that U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen was behind Galatasaray’s UEFA Cup win in 2000.

“It is rumored that Gülen made Galatasaray champion by praying in 2000. We as Fenerbahçe do not have such a thing, but today we are a club that has played in three semi-finals in Europe,” Yıldırım told reporters after Fenerbahçe’s defeat to its archrival in the Ziraat Turkish Cup final late on May 26.

Yıldırım, who was jailed in 2012 as part of a match-fixing scandal said to be pursued by Gülen-linked prosecutors, also it was Galatasaray that introduced match-fixing to Turkey.

“Aziz Yıldırım did not fix matches. Let’s see documents. If any soul can prove that I fixed matches, gave money to a club or a player, or made another transaction, I will jump from the bridge,” he stated.

Galatasaray won the Ziraat Turkish Cup late on May 26, defeating Fenerbahçe 1-0 in the final played in the southern province of Antalya.

Yıldırım accused the Gülen movement over the match-fixing case, saying it was a politically motivated plot aimed at taking over the club.

An investigation into the match-fixing claims was opened on July 3, 2011. Yıldırım was first sentenced to jail in 2012 and fined 1.3 million Turkish Liras ($560,000) for forming a criminal gang and engaging in match-fixing during the 2010-2011 season. 

He served around one year behind bars before being freed pending a retrial. The Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court later issued a unanimous ruling that acquitted Yıldırım.