* 93 suspects include Fenerbahce chairman
* Eight clubs and 14 players named in indictment
* Legal reform complicates court process
By Daren Butler
ISTANBUL, Dec 9 A Turkish court accepted
an indictment on Friday charging 93 soccer officials and
players, including the chairman of champions Fenerbahce, with
match-fixing in a case which has sent shockwaves through the
Attention will now turn to the reaction of the Turkish
Football Federation (TFF) and European football's ruling body
UEFA. Under sanctions so far, the TFF barred Fenerbahce from
this season's Champions League over the allegations.
Istanbul prosecutor Fikret Secen said a court in the city
had accepted the indictment, state-run Anatolian news agency
reported. Turkish broadcasters obtained copies of the indictment
and said the first hearing in the case would be on Feb. 14.
Thirty-one players and officials, including Fenerbahce
chairman Aziz Yildirim, have been jailed pending trial since the
scandal first emerged in July. Also among the defendants is a
TFF deputy chairman, Goksel Gumusdag.
Olgun Peker, an ex-president of club Giresunspor, and
Yildirim are accused of being gang leaders among a raft of
charges ranging from match-fixing to the payment of bribes.
The indictment names eight clubs, including Fenerbahce,
Besiktas and Trabzonspor, who are currently in the Europa League
after replacing Fenerbahce in this season's Champions League.
Fourteen players are among the defendants.
However, the course of the case has been complicated by
legal reforms being carried out in the capital Ankara, where MPs
are pushing through an amended law which severely cuts jail
sentences for match-fixing.
The reform has attracted controversy as it coincides with
the investigation and amends a match-rigging law which came into
effect only in April, having been pushing through parliament at
the request of the soccer clubs themselves.
On Friday, President Abdullah Gul vetoed the amended
legislation which reduces jail sentences for individual cases of
match-fixing to a maximum three years from 12 years under the
Gul argued that the reduced penalties would not constitute a
sufficient deterrent and expressed concern about the public
impression that the amendment of the law was designed to benefit
Parliament is standing by its amendment and is set to send
the law back to Gul unchanged, requiring him to pass the
legislation. If that happens, a new indictment may have to be
prepared in the match-fixing case on account of the lesser
The investigation alleged manipulation in 19 matches,
including Fenerbahce's 4-3 victory over Sivasspor which won the
league championship on the final day of last season.
Galatasaray, not mentioned in the indictment, lead the
domestic league this season, ahead of Fenerbahce and Besiktas.
Sanctions against clubs could include relegation, but the
football federation has indicated it would wait until the end of
the season before acting.
Last term's cup final between Besiktas and IBB is another
match under investigation.
(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Jon Hemming and Clare