Arrests in Turkey over match-fixing

Turkish police on Sunday detained more than 40 people for questioning over allegations of football match-fixing, including the president of league champion Fenerbahce.

Police conducted simultaneous raids at homes and club offices in at least 12 cities, detaining more than 40 people for questioning in an investigation into alleged match-fixing in the Turkish league last season, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported. The season ended in May with Fenerbahce winning the championship.

Police were investigating possible fixing of a final week match between Fenerbahce and Sivasspor, which ended in a 4-3 victory for the Istanbul side and helped it claim the league title, as well as a match against Eskisehirspor, the Dogan news agency reported.

Those detained include Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim, other Fenerbahce officials, and players and officials from several other clubs. Television footage showed Yildirim getting into a police vehicle.

Anatolia said that Eskisehirspor club manager and former Turkey international Umit Karan and Turkey internationals Serdar Kulbilge and Serkan Calik were also among the detained. Nigeria International Emmanuel Emenike, who recently transferred to Fenerbahce from Karabukspor in a deal worth $9 million, was also detained, according to the Dogan News Agency.

Yuksel Gunay, a Fenerbahce official, reacted angrily to Yildirim’s detention.

”This is ugly,” the Anatolia news agency quoted Gunay as saying. ”I have no qualms in saying that this is a police state. This is ugly. What match-fixing are they looking for?”

In April, Turkey introduced tough legislation to battle hooliganism and cheating in football, including a maximum 12-year prison sentence for match-fixing.