Pro-gov’t tycoon to run for chair of Turkey’s football federation

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Nihat Özdemir. PHOTO: Hürriyet

Prominent Turkish businessman Nihat Özdemir has declared his candidacy for chairman of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), the Artı Gerçek news website reported on Thursday.

The new chair of the TFF will be elected on June 1. Former chairman Yıldırım Demirören resigned in February after he drew public criticism for winning a tender to manage the country’s only legal sports betting company, İddaa.

Özdemir is the founder and owner of Limak Holding, a large conglomerate with major interests in construction, energy, cement and tourism, and he is known to have close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

According to World Bank data, Limak Holding is ranked among the top 10 companies in the world for most tenders won in infrastructure.

It has shares in the consortium that built İstanbul’s new airport and a bridge on the straight of Çanakkale as well as the operation of the third Bosporus bridge in İstanbul.

In December 2013 Özdemir was among 41 suspects for whom arrest warrants were issued in a graft probe that also implicated Erdoğan’s family members and inner circle.

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