Fenerbahçe filed a court case against the TFF and the European football governing body after the club was barred from the UEFA Champions League, a billion dollar European club tournament, due to its implication in a match-fixing scandal that has continued to rock Turkey since last summer. Runner-up Trabzonspor replaced Fenerbahçe in the competition.
Football authorities speculate that there is much behind Fenerbahçe's decision as it came just as the TFF's Ethics Committee completed its report on the match-fixing case. The committee's report was to be handed over to the TFF on Thursday evening. However, the Vatan daily claimed on Thursday that the report states that the team is not involved in match-fixing and that Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım, who is currently behind bars, is not guilty and should be freed very soon.
Furthermore, Turkish media reported in February that new TFF Chairman Yıldırım Demirören allegedly offered to pay 45 million euros on behalf of the TFF to Fenerbahçe on the condition that the İstanbul-based club withdraw the lawsuit it filed with the CAS against the TFF and UEFA. This claim was not denied by the TFF chairman, and football experts now state that the club might have withdrawn the case after making a conditional agreement with the TFF regarding the match-fixing case.
In addition, the Radikal daily claimed last month that UEFA President Michel Platini had told Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in their talks in March that it would be a good idea for Fenerbahçe to withdraw the 45 million euro suit the club had filed with the CAS against UEFA over its exclusion from this season's Champions League. No statement has been issued on the content of the talks, which officials described as a courtesy visit, and the Radikal daily's report could not be confirmed.
The match-fixing investigation concerns claims that some club officials and football players rigged games in the Bank Asya League 1 and the Spor Toto Super League, which ended in May of last year with Fenerbahçe winning the trophy. In July 2011, police raided homes and football club premises, detaining 60 people suspected of fixing matches in those two Turkish leagues last season.
Many high-ranking football officials from various Turkish clubs, including Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş, have been arrested on charges of fraud and match-fixing. A total of 31 individuals, including agents, former football players and club managers, were arrested in two waves of the probe, with Fenerbahçe Chairman Yıldırım being the highest-profile figure taken into custody. Most of these suspects have been released, including Beşiktaş coach Tayfur Havutçu.