PM defends decision to clear clubs on match-fixing

Erdoğan, a member of Fenerbahçe's general assembly and a former football player himself, said the federation's decision earlier this week to punish some players and officials but none of the clubs was appropriate.

PM defends decision to clear clubs on match-fixing

World Bulletin/News Desk

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is a known fan of İstanbul's Fenerbahçe football club, defended a decision by the country's football federation to clear his club and 15 others of all charges of involvement in an alleged match-fixing scandal.

Erdoğan, a member of Fenerbahçe's general assembly and a former football player himself, said the federation's decision earlier this week to punish some players and officials but none of the clubs was appropriate.

"Real persons must be punished and not the institutions because if you punish the institutions, you also punish millions of fans who set their hearts on these institutions," Erdoğan told reporters at a news conference late on Tuesday.

Sadri Şener, president of Trabzonspor, and Yusuf Reha Alp, a member of the football federation's disciplinary body, however, have expressed concern over the federation's failure to sanction the clubs amid widespread allegations of wrongdoing.

Şener, on the other hand, argued that Turkish Football Federation (TFF) President Yıldırım Demirören had promised to hand last year's league title to Trabzonspor, which finished the season in second place, before he was elected in February.

The match-fixing scandal debate in Turkey is largely muted as the country bids to host football's 2020 European Championship ahead of this weekend's title decider between İstanbul rivals Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray.

A total of 93 officials, players and coaches, including the president of defending champion Fenerbahçe, are on trial, accused of helping fix matches last season. The federation's decision on Monday to clear all 16 clubs of involvement could affect the course of the trial, which was relying in part on the federation's guidance.

It was not clear if the federation's decision would satisfy European football's governing body, UEFA, which had said it would intervene if the Turkish federation's disciplinary body fails to take any action before a June 1 deadline to register clubs for European competitions.

Fans face imprisonment

Meanwhile, an İstanbul prosecutor is demanding a sentence of up to six years for four Fenerbahçe fans accused of violent behavior. The prosecutor called for heavy sentences after the fans' alleged involvement in violent incidents, including attacks on police, during a hearing in the trial of the match-fixing scandal.

The violent incidents broke out outside the İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan on March 30 after jailed Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım was not released. Yıldırım has remained in prison since the match-fixing investigation started last summer.

An indictment accepted by an İstanbul court names 10 officers as complainants in the case against the fans. The indictment said the police warned the group of fans after they started to argue and fight in front of the courthouse after the trial; however, they later attacked police with sticks and stones, among other things. The officers suffered minor injuries as a result of the incidents. The prosecutor demanded imprisonment ranging from one year and nine months to six years for the four fans. The date of the hearing has not yet been set.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Mayıs 2012, 15:58

Muhammed Öylek

YORUM EKLE