Soccer-Top Besiktas figures jailed in match-fixing probe

Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:05pm EDT

ISTANBUL, July 13 - A Turkish court jailed the coach and deputy chairman of Istanbul club Besiktas pending trial on Wednesday in a match-fixing investigation which has overshadowed preparations for the new soccer season, media reports said.

The Istanbul court has already jailed 26 people including the chairman of champions Fenerbahce, who feature highly in the probe, and the latest ruling targeted a second of the city's "Big Three" clubs which dominate Turkish football.

However, Turkey's soccer federation has said it will not launch its own investigation until the indictment is prepared, effectively confirming Fenerbahce as champions who can take their place in the lucrative Champions League next season.

In the latest court moves, Besiktas coach Tayfur Havutcu, who is a former Turkey international, deputy chairman Serdal Adali and another of the club's officials were remanded in custody with two players from Istanbul municipality club IBB.

Media reports have said the Turkish cup final between Besiktas and IBB (Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor) is one of 19 games highlighted in the police investigation.

Besiktas won the final 4-3 on penalties to win a place in next season's Europa League.

European soccer's governing body UEFA said on Tuesday it had no reason on current evidence to ban any Turkish clubs from European competition at this stage.

Also on Tuesday police detained 22 people, including the chairman of Trabzonspor. He was later released on condition he did not leave the country. The former football federation chairman was also released after questioning by prosecutors.

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Those already jailed pending trial include four Fenerbahce executives, the chairman of Sivasspor, the coach of Eskisehirspor, Sivasspor's goalkeeper and the former chairmen of Diyarbakirspor and Giresunspor.

Media reports said among other matches under investigation were Fenerbahce's 4-3 victory over Sivasspor which clinched the title on the final day of the season.

Turkish Football Federation chairman Mehmet Ali Aydinlar said this week it could not yet launch its own inquiry as it did not have any evidence or documentation.

Reports about the investigation have triggered major volatility in the shares of the leading Turkish clubs.

Speculation that Fenerbahce could be stripped of their title knocked a third off the value of the club's shares last week, but they have recovered those losses this week.

Shares in Trabzonspor are now higher than before the investigation began.

The soccer federation chairman has said the domestic league will begin as scheduled on Aug. 5 and champions Fenerbahce will play cup winners Besiktas in the Super Cup on July 31.

The chairman of the third major Istanbul club, Galatasaray, which has not been mentioned in media reports on the investigation, said on Tuesday that a delay to the start of the season should be considered.

(Editing by Ken Ferris; To comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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