Fenerbahçe members elect Ali Koç as new chairman

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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JUNE 2: Fenerbahce Presidential candidate Ali Koc speaks during the Fenerbahce Club Selective Ordinary General assembly at Ulker Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on June 2, 2018. Emrah Yorulmaz / Anadolu Agency

The Fenerbahçe sports club on Sunday elected a new chairman, Ali Koç, the 37th chair in the club’s 111-year history.

Former president Aziz Yıldırım, who managed the club for 20 years, lost the election by a huge margin, 16,092 to 4,644.

Koç is a member of Turkey’s famous business family that owns Koç Holding.

According to Turkish law, sport clubs are considered associations and their chairmen are elected by members’ votes.

Yıldırım was sentenced to six years, three months in prison by a local court after an investigation into Fenerbahçe on match-fixing accusations in July 2011. He was in prison for a year.

He has appealed the verdict and is currently awaiting a final decision from the Supreme Court of Appeals.

In a TV broadcast in April, Yıldırım admitted that he had run for chairman of the club to avoid going to jail.

“The appeal is still under consideration. There might be a negative decision. They could confirm the verdict, in which case I’ll be in prison for two years. Fenerbahçe supporters should show their loyalty,” he said.

Koç, on the other hand, said in a recent TV interview that his family opposed his decision to become Fenerbahçe chairman.

Fenerbahçe supporters expect him to change the club dramatically.

Last week French legend Arsene Wenger, who coached Premier League giant Arsenal for 22 years, was seen while on vacation in Bodrum and was to meet with Koç in İstanbul, according to the sports media.

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