News / Europe

    Amid Scandal, Turkish Soccer Seeks European Support

    Fenerbahce Chairman Aziz Yildirim (top, 2nd L) is escorted by plainclothes police officers at the courthouse in Istanbul July 8, 2011
    Fenerbahce Chairman Aziz Yildirim (top, 2nd L) is escorted by plainclothes police officers at the courthouse in Istanbul July 8, 2011

    Turkish football (soccer) is in the grip of a major police investigation into match-fixing, with more than 60 people arrested in a scandal that has rocked the country. Turkish officials met with Europe's football governing body UEFA in Geneva.  

    The soccer summit was called after Turkish football became mired in growing allegations of match-fixing. UEFA threatened to ban clubs found to be involved from future European competitions.

    Turkish Football Federation Deputy President Lutfi Aribogan led the delegation to UEFA’s Swiss headquarters and emerged confident that Turkey has support from the governing body.

    He said UEFA has full confidence in the Turkish Football Federation and they are in agreement with its approach to the situation.

    UEFA has become increasingly concerned as senior officials from Turkey's leading clubs have been arrested in the police probe. The police have identified 19 of last season's matches they suspect of being fixed. Last week, Istanbul's Besiktas team returned the Turkish football cup.

    Earlier, a player reportedly confessed to police that he played badly in the cup final in exchange for a race horse.

    UEFA's biggest concern surrounds league champions Fenerbahce. The club’s chairman is currently in jail over allegations the club fixed numerous games to secure the title.

    Veteran football journalist Esat Yilmaer of the Turkish Football Writers Association says authorities may have done enough to persuade UEFA not to expel the club from its premier competition, the Champions League.

    "There is a lot question about this situation, and in this moment [the] football federation says we do not have enough material to punish the clubs," said Yilmaer. "And until the court gives a decision, we have to wait. Maybe it's right because nobody knows who is guilty or who is not guilty."

    Any court case is expected to last two to three years. But pressure on UEFA to act against Turkish football can only grow, as the police investigation continues to widen.

    Another club set to play in the Champion's League, Trabzonspor, is also under investigation, with senior officials arrested.  

    The deepening scandal is gripping the country, according to columnist Asli Aydintasbas, of the Turkish daily Milliyet.

    "It is more important than any political story we are talking about," said Aydintasbas. "It is the only subject people on the street are talking about. This country is insane about football.”

    Last week, thousands of supporters of the Fenerbahce club protested outside their stadium. The demonstration turned violent, with some clashing with police when fans blocked one of Istanbul's main highways. Many of the supporters claim the investigation is a conspiracy against their club.  

    But with many of Turkey's clubs run by wealthy and powerful businessmen, suspicions about match-fixing have dogged Turkish football for years.  With the police investigation targeting more clubs it is being widely perceived as even handed, and is enjoying strong public support.

    As in a popular cafe frequented by football supporters who come to watch games on television.

    FAN 1: "They have to clarify everything, if bad things happened they have to clarify. Because we have to know what happened. And of course the people who did these kind of things have to be punished."

    FAN 2: "It will be better for everybody. If they go to the end of the investigation everything will be clear."

    That hope appears well placed. More people are being brought before the courts as the scope of the police investigation widens.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora