Turkish football has hardly had a sleepy summer as match-fixing allegations and criminal investigations have dominated the headlines.
Just over two weeks ago, around 40 players, managers and officials from nine Turkish football clubs as well as three Turkish FA leaders were arrested in connection with an eight-month-long investigation intoÂ organised match-fixing. Then, in a second wave of arrests, 20 more men were apprehended. The situation has sunk so bad that a leading TurkishÂ politicianÂ has said “If only five percent of the allegations are true, it would be terrible for sport in Turkey.”
Undoubtedly, the most high profile person implicated in the investigations isÂ FenerbahceÂ president Aziz Yildirim. Standing as one of the most powerful and richest men in Turkey, Yildirim’s involvement in such a corrupt situation has shaken the fabric of Turkish society to the core. Plenty of Turks, particularlyÂ Fenerbahce fans, believeÂ Yildirim is being scapegoated, and on Thursday night they staged a protest in support of the jailed Yildirim during a friendly with Ukrainian outfitÂ Shakhtar Donetsk.
Things began spiralling out of control just before the hour mark.
Two Fener fans – one who large and hugely aggressive – burst onto the pitch wearing t-shirts withÂ Aziz Yildirim’s face on it. The stewards struggled to deal with theÂ unruly twosome, taking several minutes to get them off the pitch and restore order.
That was only theÂ beginningÂ of the bother however. Minutes later, as the Fenerbahce fansÂ continued to causeÂ trouble, the match officials decided to call a halt to the contest. That decision lead to hundreds of Turkish fans invading the pitch as all order in the stadium evaporated.