ISTANBUL, (Reuters) – An Istanbul court jailed the chairman of league champions Fenerbahce yesterday pending trial on charges of match-fixing, in an investigation which could result in the club being stripped of their title.
Chairman Aziz Yildirim joined 25 people, including three fellow members of the Fenerbahce board, already remanded in custody after police raids a week ago, prompted by evidence of manipulation in 19 matches.
Scuffles broke out outside the courthouse in the Besiktas neighbourhood as police held back angry Fenerbahce supporters.
Across the Bosphorus strait, on the Asian side of the city angry protests erupted among hundreds more supporters in streets near the Fenerbahce stadium. The club won the league for a record 18th time last season.
Yildirim had been taken for medical treatment after prosecutors called for him to be jailed on Friday, but his questioning was completed yesterday, when the court ordered him to be jailed and he was taken to the city’s Metris prison.
Police detained 61 people last weekend in raids prompted by evidence of match-fixing, but 35 of them were subsequently released. It is unclear if any of them could still face charges.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, a Fenerbahce fan and member of its congress, has said the scandal has stained the country’s image and called for a quick and just outcome to the investigations.
Preparations for the start of the new season, just one month away, have been left in chaos. European soccer’s governing body UEFA has set a deadline of July 15 for confirmation of the team taking part in the third Champions League qualifying round.