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Turkey jails three for life in wake of match-fixing scandal

A Turkish court Friday jailed for life a media boss and two former police chiefs involved in the match-fixing investigation into Istanbul football giants Fenerbahce.

The convictions come after Aziz Yildirim — Fenerbahce chairman for more than a decade and one of the most prominent figures in Turkish football — was sentenced to six years in prison in 2012 after being convicted of setting the results of matches in the 2010/2011 season.

Fenerbahce won that season’s hotly contested title ahead of arch-rivals Trabzonspor on goal difference.

The scandal surrounding the title win sent shock waves through Turkish football and led to Fenerbahce being banned from European competitions for a year.

Yildirim was freed pending an appeal after spending more than a year in prison and acquitted in a retrial in October 2015.

His vindication was followed by a Turkish investigation into dozens of police officers involved in the case against one of the country’s most popular clubs.

The three jailed on Friday were convicted of links to a terror group President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for staging a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Former Istanbul police organised crime unit director Nazmi Ardic was sentenced to 1,972 years and 10 months in prison on multiple charges.

Ex-police officer Lokman Yanik was jailed for 161 years and former Samanyolu TV group president Hidayet Karaca was sentenced to 1,406 years on charges including the “establishment of a conspiracy” against the football boss.

Current Fenerbahce chairman Ali Koc said he did not feel fully vindicated by the convictions.

“No verdict can balance out what Fenerbahce and its millions of supporters have gone through over all these years,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.

“There are still several more people that need to be held to account.”

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