Yıldırım hints at Fener's withdrawal from league
Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım, who has been behind bars as a suspect in the match-fixing trial since July 3, 2011, is seen outside the courtroom after walking out during a hearing. (Photo: Cihan)
Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım says the club is considering withdrawing the football team from official leagues, due to what he calls an "unjust order" and the actions of Turkey's football authority in the aftermath of a mass match-fixing scandal.
The statement came after the Turkish Football Federation's (TFF) Professional Football Discipline Committee (PFDK) announced the penalties for the individuals and clubs implicated in the scandal, early on Monday.
The committee ruled no clubs were responsible for such actions while 10 individuals were penalized and temporarily suspended from participating in official football matches for a period ranging from one to three years. Fenerbahçe Deputy Chairman Şekip Mosturoğlu was suspended for one year while the club's Manager İlhan Ekşioğlu got three years and the club's Infrastructure Coordinator Cemil Turan received a one-year suspension. Despite being held since the investigation into the match-fixing allegations started last summer, Yıldırım was not found guilty by the PFDK.
“In this unjust order and in the event of the continuation of the same practices, Fenerbahçe management has sufficient maturity and determination to take a series of sanctions and decisions, including withholding the Fenerbahçe football team from competitions,” Yıldırım said in the statement late on Monday.
“We will take this issue to the general assembly meeting after the [election] congress and discuss the possibilities.”
Yıldırım reiterated his claim that he and other Fenerbahçe officials who are among the suspects of the match-fixing case are innocent.
He said the club officials, who have had sanctions imposed on them by the TFF, will continue holding their offices with the Fenerbahçe club as long as they want. He argued that it is a clearly unjust to declare a club clear, yet accuse its managers, adding that Fenerbahçe is put under suspicion indirectly by blaming its managers for involvement in rigging activities.
With Monday's decision, the TFF concluded its own investigation while a court case is still under way with 93 suspects, including Yıldırım and the aforementioned Fenerbahçe managers as well as managers from Trabzonspor and Beşiktaş.