Europe

Turkish football match-fixing: 19 matches suspected

  • 7 July 2011
  • From the section Europe
Emmanuel Emenike, Fenerbahce striker, is surrounded by policemen as he arrives at court in Istanbul on 6 July
Fenerbahce striker Emmanuel Emenike (centre) was released after a court appearance

Turkish police have given the first indication of the scale of the football match-fixing they are investigating, in an operation which began on Sunday.

They say they have so far uncovered evidence that bribes and intimidation were used to fix 19 games.

It is their first statement since detaining more than 60 people, including the president of Turkey's top club, Fenerbahce.

Some suspects have been released, but around 50 remain in custody.

In a number of cases, the police have been granted permission by the courts to detain suspects beyond the usual four days, in order to continue questioning.

Nigerian player Emmanuel Emenike, who is currently a striker for Fenerbahce, was among those who appeared in court on Wednesday, and was later released.

The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan - a former football player and Fenerbahce supporter - has called for a swift conclusion to the investigation.

Heart problems

"I am not only a Fenerbahce fan, I am a member of its congress," he said.

"If there was abuse or wrongdoing, this has to be brought to light in a fair manner."

"I hope that it is concluded quickly and fairly so that our image internationally is not blemished," he told reporters.

The highest profile suspect is Aziz Yildirim, president of the current national league champions, Fenerbahce. He has been released so he can go to hospital, to seek help for heart problems.

But he remains a suspect and is scheduled to be questioned by prosecutors on Thursday.

Mr Yildirim was detained on Sunday along with his vice-president, according to state media.

Fenerbahce insists the club has done nothing wrong.

Other prominent clubs whose former chairmen are under investigation are Diyarbakirspor and Giresunspor.

Several footballers were also arrested, including at least two Turkish internationals.

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