Alledged Match Fixing in Turkey as 19 Matches Allegedly Fixed

On January 5th, national daily newspaper Milliyet broke the story that 19 soccer matches in Turkey have allegedly been fixed.  English language daily Today’s Zaman also reported this story the following day.  The 3,500 page report, prepared by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Bochum, Germany, was submitted to the Turkish Football Federation.  The document implicated players, coaches, and administrators in the match fixing activities, encompassing all four divisions of Turkish professional football and calling the manipulation of matches a “casual thing” in the country.  A soccer official in the country, preferring to remain anonymous, had disclosed to Milliyet that the report was based on 50,000 pages of phone conversation transcripts that:

“The games were so manipulated that large bets on low-stake games enabled people worldwide to earn money. It is estimated that the unlawful profits obtained through this ‘gang’s’ match-fixing could be as high as 50 million euros.”

Names mentioned in the report include former Galatasaray and national team star Arif Erdem, Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor goalkeeper Kenan Hasagic, Gençlerbirliği goalkeeper Recep Öztürk, and Gençlerbirliği club Chairman Ilhan Cavcav.  One of the matches included in the match-fixing scheme was a match in May between Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor and Gençlerbirliği, in which the final score was 3-1 in favor of the Istanbul club.  One bettor has verified that individuals who bet on the game learned what the score would be from both aforementioned goalkeepers.  According to another bettor, both chairmen of the clubs in question reached a verbal agreement pertaining to the score so that the Istanbul based club would not drop to the Bank Asya 1st Division from the Turkcell Super League.  Recep Öztürk is alleged to have bet on the match, making 30,000 Euros as a result of the fix.  Also implicated is a match in the Antalya Cup between Antalyaspor and Trabzonspor, in which a bettor received information as to the score from Trabzonspor officials before the match was played.

The Turkish Football Federation has launched an investigation into the matter.  The federation mentioned in a statement that “bringing the truth to light will be out priority”, and that they will send a delegation to Germany to investigate the matter.  All of the people implicated by name have strongly condemned the report.