Fenerbahce lose appeal over Champions League ban
Turkish league winners Fenerbahce on Thursday lost their appeal against being banned from Europe’s top club football competition over a match-fixing probe, local media reported.
Fenerbahce were prevented from entering the Champions League because of the scandal with runners-up Trabzonspor taking their place instead in Thursday’s draw.
“The arbitration committee of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) judged that the TTF conformed to the rules and the appeal was rejected,” reported the Anatolia news agency.
Earlier, the Istanbul club’s lawyer Haluk Burcuoglu told reporters he had lodged an appeal with the arbitration committee of the TFF.
“This decision (to ban Fenerbahce) has nothing to do with justice,” Burcuoglu said. “The TFF does not have the authority to exclude a club from the Champions League.”
Last month, some 30 people were charged and jailed pending trial in a probe into alleged match-fixing and bribery in Turkey’s first and second divisions last season. Among them is the president of Fenerbahce, Aziz Yildirim.
The TFF said Wednesday that European football’s top body UEFA had warned that either Fenerbahce should withdraw from the competition or the TFF should ban the club to prevent UEFA starting its own disciplinary investigation.
The federation’s sanction came just a day before the draw for the group stage of the money-spinning tournament on Thursday.
The Turkish sporting press estimated the potential loss to Fenerbahce from missing out on the tournament at 25 million euros.
The UEFA emergency panel said Trabzonspor would in turn be replaced in the Europa League by their opponents in the play-off, Athletic Bilbao.