Match-fixing saga close to an ending

Match-fixing saga close to an ending

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Match-fixing saga close to an ending

Fenerbahçe chairman Aziz Yıldırım (C), who has been jailed in Metris Prison since July, is the highest profile figure in the ongoing match-fixing case. AA photo

There could be dramatic developments in Turkey’s long-running match-fixing case by next week as both the judiciary and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) are nearing a conclusion in their considerations of the case, according to reports.

Prosecutors were expected to present their opinions to head judge Mehmet Ekinci at the end of the 19th hearing late on June 1 after the judge had finished listening to all defendants. Lawyers for the suspects, however, were expected to request extra time from the judge to make their final defenses after the prosecutor issues his final opinion on the case.

A total of 93 football officials, coaches and players are being investigated as part of the case which started after Istanbul police discovered that several games were allegedly manipulated in the 2010-2011 Turkish Super League.

2011 champion Fenerbahçe and runner-up Trabzonspor are at the heart of the allegations.

Currently, nine officials, including Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım – arguably the strongest man in Turkish football – are being jailed pending charges. The lawyers were to request that Ekinci grant acquittals to the jailed suspects following the June 1 hearings, which were continuing as the Hürriyet Daily News went to press.

Meanwhile, the arbitration committee of the TFF is also expected to announce its definitive decision in the case.

Earlier this month, the TFF cleared all 16 Turkish clubs, including Fenerbahçe, of involvement in the alleged match-fixing scandal, but it has banned players and club officials for manipulating and attempting to manipulate games.

Individuals banned

Gaziantepspor midfielder İbrahim Akın, who was with Istanbul BB at the time of the alleged rigging, was banned for three years for manipulating a Fener-Istanbul BB match, while former Gençlerbirliği goalkeeper Serdar Kulbilge was given a two-year ban for attempting to manipulate a Gençlerbirliği-Fener match last season.

Two officials from Fenerbahçe were also banned. Fenerbahçe board member İlhan Ekşioğlu was given a three-year ban for attempting to manipulate the Eskişehirspor-Trabzonspor and Gençlerbirliği-Fenerbahçe games, while Vice Chairman Şekip Mosturoğlu and club official Cemil Turan were each given one-year bans.

The arbitration committee will announce its final decision after suspects make their appeals.