Turkish Football Federation moved the start of Turkish Super League season from August 5 to September 9. The prominent match fixing scandal involving top clubs and online sportsbooks in Turkey is behind the delay. Read more on the story in our (Sports Betting Corruption Scandal Rocks Turkish Football Champs) article.
The move comes after Mehmet Aydinlar, the Turkish Football Federation president, met the prosecutor in charge of the investigation. Turkish league champions Fenerbahce already expressed their opinion that this meeting could further damage the club’s image.
Investigators suggest that match fixing occurred to influence the allocation of last season’s title. This means that Fenerbahce will be the center of attention, yet other top clubs will receive their share of inquiries. Fenerbahce’s president Aziz Yildirim was among the 31 suspects, arrested in connection with the scandal.
Match fixing is an integral part of Turkey’s underground sports betting industry. It has been on the rise in recent years primarily because the only legal sports betting under current Turkish gambling laws can be done through the state-owned sports betting company, IDDAA.
So far officials told Turkey gambling news that “bribery and intimidation” took place to influence outcomes of at least 19 games. Turkish media is filled with rumors and speculations on what kind of fixing had occurred. The most popular suggestions include: strikers being offered money not to score goals, keepers deliberately letting goals in and the choice of certain referees for specific games.
No official word is yet given whether this postponement will be the only delay. No comments were given about participation of Turkish clubs in the European competitions this season. UEFA didn’t find any reasons to ban the Turkish sides, however this might change once further details of investigation surface.