Turkish police detain 46 in matchfixing probe

TEL AVIV - Turkey's FA, police and security officials were congratulated for trying to rid their nation's football of the "cancer of corruption" by UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino on Thursday.

Turkish police on Wednesday detained 46 people including professional footballers from the country's top division in connection with a match-fixing probe.

While several were later released, Istanbul prosecutors on Thursday asked a court to accept charges against former Turkish international defender Fatih Akyel, state-run news agency Anatolian reported.

Infantino told a news briefing following UEFA's annual congress that European football's governing body had been working closely with the Turkish authorities when hints of match-fixing first began to be made last year.

"We have been in regular contact with the Turkish FA and the police and authorities," he said.

"Since we set up our Betting Fraud Detection System to monitor match fixing and illegal betting after last year's Congress in Copenhagen we have started to tackle corruption and match-fixing in a very proactive way.

"Since June 2009 we have monitored over 30,000 matches in Europe.

"What has happened in Turkey is something that has also happened in other countries and we must congratulate the Turkish federation and the authorities in trying to kick this cancer out of Turkish football as are trying to do throughout European football."

GREATEST DANGER

Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin told Anatolian on Wednesday that 46 people had been detained with another seven suspects targeted.

Among those released the following day were Arif Erdem, a deputy trainer of top-division Istanbul club Buyuksehir Belediyespor and Taner Gulleri, a striker with the club. Erdem, also a former international, told Turkish broadcaster NTV he was innocent but had been held because he was named in an indictment.

The TFF said in a statement on Wednesday it had filed a complaint about suspected match-fixing and manipulation with prosecutors at Istanbul's Sariyer district court last August.

The TFF added the probe was not related to an investigation into a huge match-fixing ring exposed by prosecutors in the German city of Bochum last November, although information from that investigation had been passed on to Turkish authorities.

The ring in Bochum involved 200 matches, 29 of which were from Turkey's first division.

During UEFA's Congress, UEFA president Michel Platini said that fraud, corruption and illegal gambling was "the greatest danger we face. It is the one that could kill football."

Platini told reporters afterwards: "I appeal to everyone, to players, coaches, the media, to come forward if they know about this. There is no point in playing the match, if the match report is written before the game."

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