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Fenerbahce chairman jailed and then bailed

July 3, 2012

Aziz-Yildirim-003.jpg

• Aziz Yildirim handed hefty term for match-fixing
• Fenerbahce chairman also given 30 months for other offences

The chairman of the Turkish club Fenerbahce was sentenced to more than six years in jail on Monday in a match-fixing trial which has caused turmoil in the country’s domestic league .

Aziz Yildirim was one of a host of defendants, including club executives and players, convicted in a case closely watched by European football’s ruling body Uefa amid speculation they could bring their own sanctions against those found guilty.

A Turkish court sentenced Yildirim to three years and nine months for match-fixing and two years and six months for forming an illegal organisation, but released him on bail pending an appeal.

Hundreds of Fenerbahce fans outside the court in central Istanbul, many dressed in the club’s blue-and-yellow shirts, initially celebrated the news that Yildirim was to be released but fell quiet as news of his conviction emerged.

Yildirim has denied the allegations against him, arguing that they were specifically designed to undermine the 18-times domestic champions.

The scandal erupted last July, when police raids led to the detention of dozens of people including Yildirim, who was subsequently accused of being a gang leader while other charges ranged from match-fixing to paying bribes.

Fenerbahce were barred from the Champions League last season but avoided being stripped of their domestic title and relegated to a lower league, which many thought would happen. Read More

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