ISTANBUL: Champions Fenerbahçe have demanded the release of president Aziz Yıldırım who has been held in jail since last July when he was arrested on suspicion of matchfixing.

Fenerbahçe vice-president Nihat Özdemir told a press conference that the record 18-times champions club has never been involved in match-fixing trusted the Turkish judiciary. However keeping developer Yıldırım in custody was unjust.

Last month an İstanbul court ahd rejected a request for the release of seven suspects in the match-fixing case, including Yıldırım, saying there was strong evidence of the suspects’ involvement in criminal activities.

Özdemir said the club will never forget how poorly it has been treated during this chaotic period and thanked club manager Aykut Kocaman and all members of the team for their support. He said the club’s stance had been supported by a report from the Turkish Football Federation’s Ethics Committee saying it had found no evidence of matchfixing attempts last season.

Asked about Fenerbahçe’s withdrawal of an appeal and compensation demand to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Özdemir said that had been done for the benefit and interest of the country. He also said the club’s executive board decided that withdrawing the case would help resolve troubled relations in the world of Turkish football, especially between the TFF, Fenerbahçe and UEFA.

# # # #