ANKARA: UEFA president Michel Platini is in the Turkish capital of Ankara for talks aimed at achieving an understanding, at least, over the matchfix scandal which has scarred relations between the federation and the European governing body
Platini flew to Ankara ahead of this week’s UEFA Congress, which starts on Thursday, t0 discuss the ongoing controversy with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Last season’s league champion Fenerbahce were barred from entry in this term’s UEFA Champions League in a furious fall-out over the crisis which has implicated sports officials, club directors, politicians and businessmen. Istanbul rivals Besiktas were forced to hand back the Turkish Cup they won last spring.
Fenerbahce’s imprisoned chairman Aziz Yildirim, 59, is a main defendant in the trial of 93 people which began last month over the scandal allegedly involving more than a dozen games in the top two divisions last season. Yildirim denies any wrongdoing.
The club says it has been unfairly treated by UEFA and Turkish soccer authorities. The team has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, seeking $58.5 million in compensation for its Champions League suspension.
Erdogan, a keen footballer in his youth, is a fan of Fenerbahce. The new president of the Turkish football federation, businessman Yildirim Demiroren, is close to the government and has promised to clean up the sport.
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