Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim: This trial is about me, not football

The 59-year-old feels that he is being targeted by hostile influences within the country, as Fener fans rally outside the courthouse in support of their club
Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim believes that the ongoing match-fixing scandal in Turkey is merely a means to get rid of him, rather than corruption in football.

A host of clubs, including Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Trabzonspor, are implicated in a string of allegations pertaining to numerous matches at the tail-end of last season, when the Sukru Saracoglu club snatched an unlikely Super Lig title in their final match of the season.

Yildirim had previously claimed that his club had fallen victim to a government conspiracy, and has once again poured scorn on the charges, saying they are centred on him.

"This case is not about cleansing football," he said, according to Radikal. "If it were just about that, the whole football world would be here, not just me.

"Where are the Trabzonspor officials? Financial incentives were offered to other clubs as well, according to the indictment."

His views are echoed by the club's legion of supporters, who feel that Fenerbahce chief have been victimised by Fethullah Gulen's religious movement, which is becoming ever-more popular in the country.

Fans gathered outside the courthouse displaying banners which read: "The Gulen Community cannot cope with Fener!".

Last week, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for punishments to be limited to individuals, rather than clubs.