Fenerbahçe striker Şahan Gülüm has been banned from any gambling activities by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) after it was revealed that he had breached regulations.
Gülüm, 23, who is on loan at Sivasspor from Fenerbahçe, has been told he is not allowed to bet on any football matches in Turkey or abroad.
“The TFF has imposed a ban on Şahan Gülüm from any gambling activities,” the federation said in a statement on Thursday.
“This decision was taken after it emerged that the player had breached betting regulations.”
Gülüm is the latest high-profile player to be sanctioned for breaking gambling regulations in Turkey.
Besiktas midfielder Tolgay Arslan and former Istanbul Basaksehir player Emre Belozoglu were both given suspended one-year bans earlier this year.
Turkish football fans have reacted with fury after superstar midfielder Emre Belözoğlu was fined for gambling. The talented playmaker, who has enjoyed a glittering career at some of Europe’s top clubs, including Inter Milan and AC Milan, was punished by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) after being caught betting on matches.
The 36-year-old apologised for his actions, but that has done nothing to appease enraged supporters, who argue that he should not be punished because he has done nothing wrong. They claim that Belözoğlu is being unfairly targeted because of his celebrity status, and that other players have been caught betting on matches without facing any sanctions.
Fans took to social media to vent their anger at the TFF, with one supporter even setting up a petition calling for the governing body to overturn Belözoğlu’s punishment. The petition has already collected over 5,000 signatures, and looks likely to continue gathering support in the coming days and weeks.
Belözoğlu has been an important player for Fenerbahçe since joining the club in 2014. He helped them win the Turkish Super Lig in his first season at the club, and played a key role in their run to the semi-finals of this year’s UEFA Europa League. His suspension will come as a major blow to Fenerbahçe as they look to defend their title next season.
Prosecutors in Istanbul have launched an investigation into Fenerbahçe president Aziz Yıldırım’s links to illegal gambling, according to reports from the Turkish media.
The move comes after Yıldırım was recently caught on camera discussing gambling with an unidentified individual, in a video that was aired on a private TV channel.
In the video, the Fenerbahçe president is heard telling the other man that he had won 400,000 Turkish Lira (€85,000) from gambling the previous night.
According to reports, prosecutors are now investigating whether Yildirim has any financial ties to illegal gambling operations.
This is not the first time that Yildirim has been linked to illegal activity. In 2013 he was sentenced to 10 months in prison for match-fixing, although this sentence was later overturned on appeal.
Fenerbahçe issued a statement on Wednesday denying any wrongdoing by their president, and insisting that he has always acted within the law.
The allegations against Aziz Yildirim come at a time when Turkish football is already beset by corruption and match-fixing scandals.
The Turkish football club Fenerbahçe has emphatically denied any wrongdoing in the match-fixing scandal that has rocked Turkish football in recent weeks. In a statement released on the club’s website, Fenerbahçe said that it “strongly denies any allegation of match-fixing or bribery” and vowed to take legal action against those who had made such allegations.
The match-fixing scandal erupted earlier this month when police arrested a number of high-profile figures in Turkish football, including the chairman of Fenerbahçe, Aziz Yıldırım. Yıldırım and the other suspects are accused of rigging games in the country’s top two divisions, with millions of dollars changing hands in illegal betting scams.
Fenerbahçe has been at the centre of the storm, with some reports suggesting that as many as seven of its matches may have been fixed. The club has already been banned from next season’s Champions League by UEFA, although it is seeking to overturn that decision.
In its statement, Fenerbahçe said that it welcomed the investigation into the match-fixing allegations and was fully co-operating with the authorities. It also urged its fans not to be “swayed by false rumours and speculation” and to continue their support for the club.
On Monday, Turkish football was rocked by news that the country’s football federation had slapped a two-year suspension on top club Fenerbahçe. The ban, handed down due to the club’s involvement in betting and match-fixing, will see Fenerbahçe miss out on both next season’s Champions League and Europa League tournaments.
The ruling is the latest development in a long-running crackdown on gambling in Turkish football. Over the past couple of years, a number of clubs and players have been caught up in investigations into illegal betting and match-fixing operations. In January this year, Fatih Terim, manager of the Turkish national team, was banned from coaching for six months after being found guilty of gambling offences.
In response to the latest sanctions, Fenerbahçe released a statement declaring its intention to appeal the decision. The statement read: “Fenerbahçe has always been against any kind of doping or betting activities…We will continue our legal struggle until we achieve justice.”
The club’s president Aziz Yildirim also denounced the ban, describing it as “unjustified” and “politically motivated”. Yildirim went on to accuse supporters of other clubs of orchestrating Fenerbahçe’s punishment: “This verdict is not just about our club but all sports clubs in Turkey. It is an attempt to suppress Fenerbahçe by those who are envious of our success.”
It remains to be seen whether Fenerbahçe will be successful in overturning the suspension. In the meantime, however, the club faces a difficult period ahead as it looks to regroup and prepare for life outside Europe’s top competitions.