Fenerbahce's president Aziz Yildirim has made some astonishing statements yesterday during an NTV Spor (Turkish sports channel) talkshow regarding Euroleague referees.
Although Yildirim was found guilty for fixing the games of Fenerbahce football team (as a result the Turkish Football Federation disqualified Fenerbahce from the lucrative Champions League) was sentenced to 6 years and three months in jail, he served just a year and is now free, awaiting for another trial at the Supreme court of Turkey.
Being hosted in an NTV Spor show yesterday he made some stunning statements about some standard practices in basketball and in Euroleague.
According to Yildirim, Euroleague referees demand presents from the host team and that this has become a customary thing by now. He even went into further details saying that the Euroleague referees prefer their gifts to be from Grand Bazaar: "Everytime Euroleague referees come here they ask us to take them to Grand Bazaar for shopping".
As a conclusion he mentioned what happened when the gifts seized: "We pay for those expenses. But we may lose later. Is it match-fixing? We stopped paying for these and started to lose games". while saying his club is not alone in this: "All the clubs do it, all other Turkish clubs do it also and I dare anyone to prove otherwise. It's a tradition organised by the Turkish Basketball Federation".
Truth to be told, this happens everywhere and TalkBasket sources even informed us about clubs outside of Euroleague and non-Turkish clubs doing it, but once in a while these transactions get out of hands and clubs get punished.
We would like to thank Mete Aktas for breaking the news yerterday. You can follow him on twitter @MeteAktas76