Turkish conglomerate leader Ali Koç to run for Fenerbahçe presidency
ISTANBULAli Koç, a former official of Turkey’s Fenerbahçe and a third-generation member of Turkey’s wealthiest family, has confirmed he will run as a candidate in a bid to replace the Istanbul-based club’s chairman, Aziz Yıldırım.
A video shot on Oct. 24 showed Ali Koç addressing a crowd at the 1907 Fenerbahçe fans gathering to host the Premier League’s former CEO David Dein, during which he said he would be a candidate at either an extraordinary congress or the regular one in May 2018.
“I said in a 2015 general assembly that it was time to take responsibility. Now I stand behind my word. If my health is not an issue and whatever the conditions are, I will be a candidate in the general assembly in May 2018,” he said, adding that he would not campaign for an early assembly to avoid jeopardizing the club, he said in the video.
“Do not pay attention to other rumors on the issue. I never considered it appropriate to call for a congress when things go bad. We are supporting our Fenerbahçe and its board,” he said before receiving applause from the audience in the panel hall.
Anadolu Agency said on Oct. 25 that Koç confirmed his words were true.
Koç said he intended to run for chairman before but had to postpone his plans following the unexpected death of his brother Mustafa Koç in January this year.
Yıldırım, who had Koç on his board earlier, has been running the club since 1998.
He was convicted on charges of match-fixing in 2013 and was imprisoned for nearly a year in a case that deeply shook Turkish football.
He was acquitted in a retrial in 2014.
Yıldırım accused the followers of Fethullah Gülen, the leading suspect in the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, of plotting against him.
Fenerbahçe has suffered a bad start to the Turkish league, but a narrow win against Atiker Konyaspor in an away game on Oct. 24 has provided relief to the Istanbul giant, climbing to fifth place in the Spor Toto Super League standings.
Fenerbahçe was also beaten by the Premier League’s Manchester United last week in a 4-1 defeat in a Europa League group stage game.