The chairman election at the extraordinary Fenerbahçe congress that was held at the Fenerbahçe International Sports Complex Ülker Sports Arena in İstanbul on Sunday turned into a mere formality after Murat Çelikel withdrew his candidacy, thereby leaving incumbent Chairman Aziz Yıldırım as the sole candidate.
And Yıldırım, who has been held at İstanbul's Metris Prison for 11 months due to alleged involvement in match fixing, not only won but did so with panache. A total of 11,653 people were eligible to vote but 5,271 actually cast their ballots and only two votes were declared invalid.
A written statement by Yıldırım read at the congress received great applause. “I feel honored to be re-elected Fenerbahçe chairman,” the statement said. “I also wish to thank all our esteemed members who have decided that I am worthy of carrying on with this job and hope to return to your midst in the shortest time possible,” it added.
Former Fener administrators Murat Özaydınlı, Ali Koç, Serhat Çeçen, Vedat Olcay, Cihan Kamer and Nihat Özdemir were conspicuously missing from Yıldırım's new list. Özdemir had already announced that he will not vie for any post and so his absence from the new administration list did not surprise anyone.
However, the exclusion of Koç came as a big surprise to all. “We are very sad. We can't do without you,” said a Fener fan who took a photo with Koç. “It was a real shock not to see your name on the [new administration's] list,” declared some congress members.
Newly elected board member Talat Yılmaz, claiming that Yıldırım is unjustly incarcerated, heaped praise on the chairman. “Our hearts are with you and we are sending our endless love, respect and support to you,” Yılmaz stated.
All the trophies Fenerbahçe has won in different sports branches were displayed at the congress hall and Fenerbahçe administrators took pictures with them.
This was the 10th time Yıldırım has been elected chairman of Fenerbahçe but it was the first time that he was not personally present. It is worthy to note that Yıldırım was first elected chairman of this giant İstanbul club in 1998.
New Fenerbahçe administration list
Chairman: Aziz Yıldırım
Members: Abdullah Kiğılı, Mithat Yenigün, Nihat Özbağı, Alaeddin (Ali) Yıldırım, İlhan Yüksel Ekşioğlu, Ömer Temelli, Talat Yılmaz, Ender Alkaya, Ahmet Tahir Perek, İsfendiyar Zülfikari, Semih Özsoy, Tolga Deniz Aytöre, Mehmet Şekip Mosturoğlu, Hüseyin Ersan Topbaş.
Auxiliary members: Yasemin Merçil, Ünal Uzun, Hakan Dinçay, Mustafa Serdar Erkan, Turhan Şahin, Ahmet Ketenci, Yalçın Haker.