NYON, Switzerland Jan 25 Turkish soccer
must act quickly and take disciplinary action over a
match-fixing scandal that has ensnared some of the country's top
clubs and cast a shadow over the domestic season, UEFA official
Gianni Infantino said on Wednesday.
The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) was due to meet on
Thursday for an extraordinary general meeting amid expectations
that it will act to address the allegations raised by the
continuing court investigation into match-fixing.
The scandal erupted last July when police detained 60 people
in raids across Turkey including Aziz Yildirim, the chairman of
league champions Fenerbahce, and other major figures in the
highly lucrative domestic league.
"I think it is important that the Turkish FA is taking
decisions, the right decisions, with regards to this whole
match-fixing situation," UEFA general secretary Infantino told a
news conference at the European governing body's headquarters.
He said the Turkish federation could not just wait until
criminal proceedings were finalised, which could take years.
"The disciplinary proceedings from the sporting side, they
need to go fast, because it is important that the integrity and
regularity of the competition is guaranteed as soon as
possible," Infantino said.
He told Reuters that at the end of last year UEFA had not
ruled out excluding clubs caught up in the match-fixing scandal
from future European competitions.
After the scandal broke, the TFF excluded Fenerbahce from
this season's Champions League, with runners-up Trabzonspor
taking part in their place.
In December a Turkish court issued an indictment against 93
officials and players, including Yildirim and Olgun Peker, an
ex-president of second division club Giresunspor, who are both
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. Fourteen players are among the defendants.
Disputes over the match-fixing allegations were fuelled last
month when parliament passed a law cutting prison sentences for
match-rigging from a maximum 12 years to three years.
The legal reform stirred rare dissent in Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AK party but MPs defied a call by
President Abdullah Gul to reconsider the reform.
He argued that it would mean the law no longer represented a
sufficient deterrent and encouraged the view that it was passed
to benefit certain individuals.
Controversy was further fuelled by the TFF's work on
revising its own regulations, proposing to deduct points from
clubs allegedly involved in match-fixing rather than relegating
The first hearing in the court case is scheduled for Feb.
The court investigation has alleged manipulation in 19
matches, including Fenerbahce's 4-3 victory over Sivasspor which
saw them clinch the league championship on the final day of last
season when the allegations first surfaced.
(Reporting by Vincent Fribault and Signe Grejsen Nissen,
Writing by Daren Butler, Editing by Mike Collett and Ken Ferris)