December 15 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been accused of turning a blind eye to match-fixing when he was UEFA’s general secretary during the 2010-11 scandal that rocked Turkish football.
Fenerbahce won the 2011 Turkish Super League on goal difference from Trabzonspor that year but 36 officials and players were later convicted of match-fixing, including the club president, Aziz Yildirim who was handed a six-year jail term though he and other defendants were subsequently acquitted in retrial.
UEFA enforced its own sanctions against Fenerbahce, banning the club from the Champions League for two seasons. But according to The Guardian newspaper, Infantino allowed the Turkish Football Federation to apply lesser sanctions than those in the TFF’s own disciplinary regulations, which would have relegated Fenerbahce and seriously affected broadcasting revenue.
According to the newspaper, in January 2012 the TFF general secretary, Ebru Koksal, wrote to Infantino, asking if it was permitted under UEFA’s rules for the TFF to “amend” the sanctions in its own disciplinary regulations. The TFF proposed that instead of relegating Fenerbahce, the club would be stripped of the 2011 championship, have 12 points deducted, be fined and withdrawn from European competition.
Infantino replied that it would not break UEFA rules for those lesser penalties to be applied. The Guardian quoted Infantino as telling Koksal: “The task of dealing with this matter is primarily the responsibility of the TFF.
“We can say, on behalf of UEFA, that taking all circumstances into account, your proposal appears to constitute a reasonable, proportionate and appropriate response to address this matter.”
The president of the TFF at that time, Mehmet Ali Aydinlar, has stated publicly that agreement was reached with UEFA to prevent Turkish clubs from losing huge amounts of money and was the result of “negotiation”.
Erdem Egemen, a lawyer acting for Trabzonspor, told the Guardian: “We are still contesting TFF’s decision not to apply its own disciplinary rules and we are asking that Fenerbahce be stripped of the championship, which must be awarded to Trabzonspor.”
In a statement, Infantino, who has long been keen to be seen persuing a zero tolerance approach to match-fixing, commented: “At that time, UEFA was at the forefront in eradicating match-fixing with pioneering measures in place
“Close cooperation with police and judicial authorities throughout Europe was initiated and implemented, and finally, strong disciplinary decisions were taken … These are the facts and are clear.”
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