Fenerbahce Threatens to Pull Out of Turkey Soccer League

Turkish soccer champion Fenerbahce threatened to withdraw from the country’s top competition after the football federation said some of its executives were involved in match-fixing.

Vindicating the team while implicating some of its officials for attempted fixing is “legal homicide” and shows that the Turkish Football Federation is conducting an operation against Fenerbahce, jailed Chairman Aziz Yildirim said in a statement posted on the Istanbul-based club’s website.

The soccer authority’s disciplinary board said in a report published May 6 that three Fenerbahce executives, including Deputy Chairman Sekip Mosturoglu, attempted to fix matches last season. They were banned from the sport for as much as three years. The club was cleared of involvement, meaning it won’t face penalties such as relegation or the deduction of points.

Fenerbahce would also be eligible to compete next season in the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s top competition, if it qualifies and UEFA doesn’t object. The Turkish federation barred the club from competing this season after the match-fixing probe was announced. In April, Fenerbahce dropped a case it filed against UEFA, Europe’s soccer authority, and the federation seeking 45 million euros ($59 million) in compensation.

Shares in Fenerbahce Sportif Hizmetler Sanayi & Ticaret AS, the club’s marketing arm, fell 1.3 percent to 57.25 liras at 4 p.m. in Istanbul. They jumped 8 percent to 58 liras yesterday, boosted by a victory over Trabzonspor on May 6 that preserved Fenerbahce’s chances of winning this year’s championship, as well as the federation’s announcement.

Yildirim, who was exonerated in the report, is among about 30 soccer figures jailed pending trial for match-fixing after prosecutors began an investigation last year.

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