60 people have been detained as part of a major investigation into alleged fixing within Turkish football. The chairman of current champions Fenerbahce is part of those under arrest by the authorities in the Eastern European country. Police launched a mass operation across 15 provinces of Turkey, searching club premises and detaining club players and administrators in connection with the allegations.
Detainees included footballers, trainers, managers and board members from Turkish top league sides such as Sivasspor, Eskisehirspor and Genclerbirligi as well as the premises of Trabzonspor being searched by the authorities. The matches that are being investigated are two Fenerbahce games against Sivasspor and Eskisehirspor, both of which Fenerbahce were victorious.
Aziz Yildirim, the chairman of Sari Kanaryalar, was taken away by police officers on Sunday morning and resides in police custody. Yildirim was checked into the hospital on Monday, but released several hours later and taken back to prison. Fenerbahce released a statement, which expressed the faith they hold in the justice system and they are not involved in any wrongdoing.
The statement read: ‘Everyone should know that Fenerbahce Sports Club has never been and will never be engaged in any unlawful and illegal activity. We are proud of our clean and victorious past‘.
Turkish Football Federation (TFF) executives have revealed that they are closely monitoring the developments of the investigation and will release necessary statements when the correct information is disclosed to the TFF. Politicians in Turkey have also had their say on the scandal with Huseyin Celik, the leader of the reigning political party in Turkey, stating that the investigation will have a detrimental effect on Turkish football and is hoping that the allegations are unfounded.
Shares in Fenerbahce have tumbled by 10% following the police investigation and the shares of the respective clubs involved in the match-fixing operation have seen their shares also tumble on the stock exchange. Fenerbahce have won the Turkish Superliga 18 times and are considered as the best team in the history of Turkish football. These problems could force the relegation of the Sari Kanaryalar, if the court case is opened and defendants are convicted of the said crimes.