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By Daren Butler
ISTANBUL, July 5 Turkey's football federation
said on Tuesday it will act swiftly in response to nationwide
match-fixing allegations, without waiting for the outcome of a
judicial investigation which emerged at the weekend.
Police have detained some 60 people, including the chairman
of champions Fenerbahce, since Sunday in a probe which has sent
shockwaves through Turkey, hit clubs' share prices and triggered
uncertainty surrounding a multi-billion dollar league.
More than 20 of the suspects have already been sent to an
Istanbul courthouse after questioning at police headquarters.
There they face prosecutors before the court rules whether to
remand them in custody or release them.
Federation chairman Mehmet Ali Aydinlar met the prosecutor
handling the case on Tuesday, under pressure to act soon. The
Turkish league begins on Aug.7 and UEFA has set a deadline of
July 15 for confirmation of the team taking part in the third
Champions League qualifying round.
"The investigation may take a long time. Hence we must act
according to the evidence," Aydinlar told reporters after
meeting the prosecutor and before meeting the Istanbul chief of
"There is little time. We will use this period well. We will
conform to the calendar," he was reported as saying by state-run
Anatolian news agency.
Fenerbahce, which is at the centre of the probe and whose
chairman Aziz Yildirim is the highest profile detainee, won the
league for a record 18th time last season. It and second-placed
Trabzon have qualified for the Champions League.
If any clubs are found guilty of wrongdoing they could face
exclusion from competitions, relegation to a lower division and
the loss of potentially tens of millions of dollars in income.
Any individuals convicted of crimes could face lengthy
Police launched raids in 15 provinces across Turkey on
Sunday, searching club premises and detaining players and
administrators in connection with the allegations.
Turkish media on Tuesday cited allegations in police reports
such as a forward being offered money not to score in one game,
a goalkeeper deliberately failing to prevent a goal and a club
requesting a particular referee for a key derby match.
Hurriyet newspaper published grainy black-and-white photos
allegedly showing meetings where match fixing was discussed.
Shares in the listed company of Istanbul club Fenerbahce
tumbled 15 percent on Tuesday, bringing its losses in
the last two days to more than 30 percent. Other clubs shares
suffered much smaller falls.
Fenerbahce said in a statement it had not been involved in
any wrongdoing and expressed its faith in the justice system.
Yildirim has been receiving medical treatment since he was
detained early on Sunday.
Other detainees included players, trainers, managers and
board members from top Turkish league clubs Sivasspor,
Eskisehirspor and Genclerbirligi.
Among matches being investigated were two Fenerbahce games,
both of which they won against Eskisehirspor and Sivasspor last
(Writing by Daren Butler, Editing by Justin Palmer)
For the sports blog Left Field: blogs.reuters.com/sport))
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