Football: Four charged in Turkey match-fixing probe

26th March 2010, Comments 0 comments

In November, German prosecutors announced that a 200-strong band had been rigging games in Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Austria and Switzerland.

ISTANBUL - A court in Istanbul on Thursday charged four people, among them a former international footballer, in connection with a match-fixing probe as authorities questioned dozens of other suspects.

The first suspect to be remanded in custody was Fatih Akyel, a defender from third-division Tepecikspor who used to play for Istanbul giants Galatasaray and the national team in his heyday.

Akyel was charged with fraud and membership of a criminal organization and jailed pending trial, his lawyer, Sezgin Guraslan, said in televised remarks.

The 32-year-old footballer played 64 times for Turkey from 1997-2004.

The court then also remanded in custody his Tepecikspor teammate Ali Riza Guntekin, club chairman Temel Eyupoglu and Recep Ozturk, the goalkeeper of second-division outfit Konyaspor, the Anatolia news agency reported.

The report did not detail the accusations against the three.

The charged were among 46 suspects, including players from the country's top league, detained as part of the investigation into match-fixing.

The Turkish Football Federation confirmed that an investigation was under way, but said it was not related to a Europe-wide match-fixing scandal involving Turkey that broke out last year.

Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin said that the suspects were detained in a swoop in 26 provinces Wednesday and that the probe "is targeting (a total of) 53 people."

Four of the suspects -- former international Arif Erdem, now a coach at first-division Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor, two of his players and a player from top-flight club Sivasspor -- were released after questioning, Anatolia said.

Among the suspects who remained in custody were several players from first-division clubs Denizlispor and Kayserispor as well as footballers from lower divisions, managers and club administrators, Anatolia said.

"The probe was launched upon a complaint lodged by the Turkish Football Federation on August 4, 2009... (based on) information and documents obtained from inquiries into three separate match-fixing cases," the federation said.

Match-fixing allegations as part of a Europe-wide probe launched last year in Bochum, Germany are being investigated separately, it said.

In November, German prosecutors announced that a 200-strong band had been rigging games in Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Austria and Switzerland.

By bribing players, coaches, referees and officials to influence games, the gang is thought to have earned as much as 10 million euros in huge bets with bookmakers in Europe and Asia, primarily in China.

Among 200 suspect matches are 29 games in Turkey from the first division downwards.

AFP/Expatica

0 Comments To This Article