ISTANBUL: The Istanbul High Criminal Court has ordered a retrial of Fenerbahçe president Aziz Yıldırım and other individuals in the controversial match-fixing case.
This is a new twist in a saga which sparked fan fury – on both sides of the issue – and been a long-running headache for European football’s governing body UEFA.
Fenerbahce were banned from the Champions Leaue for two years for matchfixing even though the the Turkish federation had taken no action against the club after politically-inspired controversy over the disciplinary rules and regulations.
The court ordered a retrial of the suspects over charges of being a member of a criminal organization though it rejected Yıldırım’s demand for retrial on separate grounds that the investigation was part of a plot against the convicted suspects.
Yıldırım, whose appeal into his six-year, three-month match-fixing case was rejected by Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals in January, had faced two years in prison.
The convicted suspects were enabled to file yet another appeal after the semi-secret ‘Specially Courts’ which oversaw the match-fixing case, were abolished last March.
The prosecutor, Mirza Coşkun, had asked for the retrial, arguing that Yıldırım had been mistakenly accused regarding some of the charges, while others were aggravated on the basis of information contained in the investigation files.
Fenerbahçe officials, who have repeatedly denounced a conscious persecution against the club, were quick to hail the ruling.
“We want a fair trial. We didn’t ask for amnesty,” said spokesperson Mahmut Uslu. “At least 80 percent of the Turkish people believe this has been an unfair trial.”