February 13, 2019 / 9:08 AM / 10 days ago

Turkish football chairman in top bid for betting firm Iddaa: media

ANKARA (Reuters) - The top bid to operate Iddaa, Turkey’s only legal sports betting company, has come from a venture including the conglomerate of Turkish Football Federation Chairman Yildirim Demiroren, broadcaster NTV reported on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Turkish Football Federation (TFF) President Yildirim Demiroren holds a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, 23, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal/File Photo

The Sans Girisim venture comprising the chairman’s Demiroren Holding and U.S. company Scientific Games offered a 0.2 percent revenue-sharing deal, down its previous bid of 2.1 percent, NTV and other Turkish media said.

A rival bid by Inteltek - a venture between Turkish mobile phone operator Turkcell and its subsidiary Intralot - offered 0.5 percent.

Inteltek won the rights to operate Iddaa in 2008 for 10 years with a 1.4 percent commission.

Turkcell’s shares were down 0.6 percent at 1031 GMT.

Demiroren Holding, which also owns major media outlets in Turkey, and Turkcell were not available for immediate comment.

CRITICISM

Demiroren’s participation in the tender drew criticism from Turkey’s main opposition.

“While it is unethical for someone still sitting in the TFF chairmanship to take part in the tender in question, it is clear the position he holds also provides an advantage to his own firm,” lawmaker Ali Mahir Basarir from the main opposition CHP said.

“It is an absolute scandal for Demiroren to participate in the Iddaa tender,” Basarir said in a motion he submitted to parliament on the matter.

Demiroren should have resigned from his post as TFF chairman ahead of the tender in order to avoid unfair bidding conditions, said Mithat Fabian Sozmen, a columnist for Turkish newspaper Evrensel.

Sozmen said it was wrong for someone chosen to represent Turkish football to get involved in the business side of the sector.

Inteltek was the only bidder in an initial tender held in November. The commission running the tender canceled bidding a month later citing a lack of competition.

All other betting and gambling platforms are banned in Turkey.

Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Jason Neely

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