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Aziz Yildirim (top right) was among those who celebrated Fenerbahce's 18th title

The chairman of the leading Turkish football team Fenerbahce has been remanded in custody on charges of match-fixing.

Aziz Yildirim is among 26 people, including other Fenerbahce executives, to face trial over 19 suspect matches.

Supporters went on the rampage outside the courthouse in Istanbul, and across town near the club's stadium.

Police arrested 61 people last weekend in a massive investigation of match-fixing across the country.

When news emerged from court of the jailings, fans who had gathered in support of Mr Yildirim turned their anger on journalists and television crews covering the case.

And on the other, Asian side of the Bosphorus strait, there were angry protests by hundreds more supporters in the Fenerbahce neighbourhood.

The Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan defended the court ruling.

"I am a Fenerbahce supporter too. We should all welcome the outcome of an issue that has been taken to court," Mr Erdogan told the NTV news channel.

Aziz Yildirim had been taken for medical treatment, complaining of heart trouble, earlier in the week. Now he is in Istanbul's Metris prison.

He is the most prominent figure in a scandal that has engulfed many prominent figures in Turkish football, including players and other leading clubs.

In their preliminary assessment, the police said they believe the result in 19 matches are suspect.

Decision on Friday

Fenerbahce pipped Trabzonspor to the league title with a final day 4-3 win at Sivasspor.

Fenerbahce were at one point a long way back in the league but the Istanbul club won 16 of their last 17 games to take their 18th title on goal difference.

Mr Yildirim has not commented publicly, but Fenerbahce issued a statement on Saturday saying: "We do not believe the accusations that have been made against the president and directors."

Fenerbahce vice-president Sekip Mosturoglu and financial chief Tamer Yelkovan have also been remanded to face trial, as have the chairman and goalkeeper of Sivasspor.

Police have released around half of those arrested in the dramatic raids last Sunday, though it is possible they may still face charges.

Turkish media have speculated that the allegations being investigated include a striker being offered money to not score, a goalkeeper deliberately failing to save a goal, and the selection of a particular referee.

The Turkish football authorities say they will make a decision by Friday on the fate of Fenerbahce.

Friday is the deadline for notification to Uefa of Turkey's representatives in European club competitions.

Penalties could range from stripping Fenerbahce of the league title to relegating them.

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Now they have asked to be relegated loool


Turkish champions Fenerbahce have asked the football federation to allow them to play in a lower division as they try to manage the impact of a match-fixing investigation.


Fenerbahce's UEFA appeal rejected

Turkey to launch title play-off

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The move came after the Turkish Football Federation rejected Fenerbahce's appeal on Thursday against their exclusion from this season's Champions League, in which they have been replaced by Trabzonspor.

More than 30 players and officials have been jailed pending trial over the match-fixing claims, including Fenerbahce chairman Aziz Yildirim and the coach and deputy chairman of Besiktas,

"Our deputy chairman Ali Koc and management board member Ali Yildirim went to the Federation and conveyed our request to play in a lower league," Fenerbahce stated.

Koc said he expected the federation to announce their decision at the start of next week.

The federation said before the Champions League ruling that it would not take decisions regarding the clubs linked to the trial until the court had accepted the indictment and lifted a secrecy rule. That could take several months.

However, any decision to relegate a club once the season had begun would mean it would be in a lower division in the following season, lengthening the punishment period.

Fenerbahce have said their loss of revenue due to the Champions League exclusion would be some €25 million, sending their shares tumbling 18 per cent on Thursday. The shares rose 0.5 per cent on Friday.

The club have said UEFA's stance on the issue is "unlawful" and that they could take legal action against both UEFA and the Turkish federation, saying they were "innocent until proven guilty".

Player Emre Belezoglu accused UEFA of unequal treatment.

"There is no way UEFA could take such a decision against clubs such as Milan, Chelsea or Real Madrid. UEFA took this decision because we are a Turkish team, the decision is scandalous," he said.

UEFA had written to the federation on Tuesday saying Fenerbahce had to withdraw from the Champions League or the TFF should take the decision to bar them or face a disciplinary investigation, the federation said.

TFF Chairman Mehmet Ali Aydinlar said UEFA warned that Turkey generally faced a punishment of up to eight years if the federation did not act, Turkish media reported.

The TFF, which took the decision to bar Fenerbahce at an extraordinary board meeting on Wednesday before the Champions League draw, has postponed the start of the season by a month until September 9 so its ethics committee can investigate the match-fixing claims which allegedly involve 19 matches.

Among games reportedly under investigation are Fenerbahce's 4-3 victory over Sivasspor which clinched the title on the last day of the season and the cup final between Besiktas and IBB. Besiktas have returned the trophy pending the probe's outcome.

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