Turkey’s match fixing scandal is taking a turn in an even worse direction. The country’s most successful club, Fenerbahce, is at the centre of the outrage that will eventually see 26 people stand trial over the fixing of 19 matches. As we reported last week, one of those arrested was chairman of the aforementioned club, Aziz Yildirim.
Police initially made 61 arrests in relation to the case that followed the Istanbul based club winning its record 18th league title. Since the news broke, supporters of the chairman have taken to the streets in protest and even though he has now been jailed, their ire is reserved for the news crews covering events. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, a supporter of the club himself, urged everyone to welcome the news.
He told the NTV news network, “I am a Fenerbahce supporter too. We should all welcome the outcome of an issue that has been taken to court.”
Other players and officials arrested include Fenerbahce vice-president Sekip Mosturoglu and financial chief Tamer Yalkovan. This is in addition to the chairman and goalkeeper of Sivaspor, the side they were playing in the last game of the season that has come under such suspicion.
Fenerbahce again released a statement in relation to the scandal, saying, “We do not believe the accusations that have been made against the president and directors.”
The country has to move quickly as Friday is the deadline for them to register for UEFA competitions of which Fenerbahce will be involved. It does seem completely plausible that the accusations could be a little strong. Although the fact that arrests have been made does give light top the point that there’s some truth behind.
The current scandal on the Bosphorus is the most serious since Calciopoli back in 2006 but at least it shows that authorities are continuing to weed out the corruption that isn’t welcome in the world game.