More Arrests in Turkey Match-Fixing Scandal

July 11, 2011

The Turkish soccer match-fixing scandal has taken another twist today as Turkish police have detained the chairman of Trabzonspor, widening an investigation which has already put 26 people in jail pending trial and left Turkish soccer in disarray.

The major nationwide investigation has plunged preparations for the new season into chaos less than a month before kick-off and could result in champions Fenerbahce being stripped of their title.

The detention of Trabzonspor’s Sadri Sener came just hours after the chairman of Fenerbahce, Aziz Yildirim, was remanded in custody on charges of match-fixing and forming a criminal organisation.

Trabzon’s Sener was on a list of 22 people who were expected to be held in a second wave of detentions a week after police launched their first raids.

Police also detained the former Turkish Football Federation chairman Mahmut Ozgener at his home in the Aegean province of Izmir and were bringing him to Istanbul.

Shares in Fenerbahce tumbled on the Istanbul Stock Exchange last week on speculation it could be stripped of its title.

Shares in Trabzonpsor, runners-up last season, rose last week on speculation they could be awarded the title but they fell 5.5 percent on Monday after the detention of its chairman. Fenerbahce dipped 2.8 percent.

Other Fenerbahce board members are also among the 26 people who have been remanded in custody after police raids a week ago, prompted by evidence of manipulation in 19 matches.

Angry Fenerbahce supporters demonstrated in their thousands in streets near the club’s stadium after the court ruling on Yildirim. The club won the league for a record 18th time last season.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, a member of the Fenerbahce congress, has called on fans to respect the judicial process and has said the match-fixing affair has stained Turkey’s image.

Meanwhile, European soccer’s governing body UEFA has set a deadline of July 15 for confirmation of the team taking part in the third Champions League qualifying round.

Those already jailed pending trial now include four Fenerbahce executives, the chairman of Sivasspor, the coach of Eskisehirspor, Sivasspor’s goalkeeper and the former chairmen of Diyarbakirspor and Giresunspor.