Fenerbahce kicked out of Champions League

Turkish football chiefs say action prompted by UEFA as match-fixing investigation goes on, while Italian strike looms.

    Fenerbahce faced Palermo in a pre-season friendly on Sunday as both leagues remained in doubt [GALLO/GETTY]

    The Turkish Football Federation has decided to ban domestic champions Fenerbahce from this season's European Champions League.

    European football's governing body UEFA called for the move amid a match-fixing investigation involving the top Istanbul club, the federation said.
    It said it took the decision at an extraordinary board meeting on Wednesday ahead of Thursday's Champions League draw.

    UEFA had promised that any club found guilty of corrupting matches would be kicked out of its marquee competition and have results wiped from the record.

    "UEFA is working very hard behind the scenes to ride the game of these threats," general secretary Gianni Infantino said at the playoffs draw this month.

    "We will not hesitate to prosecute any individual, any official or any club."

    It was unclear how UEFA will allocate Fenerbahce's place in the draw.

    Turkish league runners-up Trabzonspor were eliminated in the qualifying rounds and could be reinstated, yet have also been implicated in the match-fixing probe.

    Spanish rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid will join England's elite clubs Manchester United and Chelsea among the top seeded teams.

    Inter Milan also heads one of eight four-team groups to be drawn in Monaco.

    AC Milan need Serie A rivals Udinese to eliminate high-ranked Arsenal in Wednesday's playoffs for the seven-time European champions to avoid dropping into the pot of number two seeded teams.

    Serie A set for strike

    The risk of a football strike increased in Italy as the league refused to sign an agreement over players' rights, three days before the scheduled start of the Serie A season.

    The Italian Players Union (AIC) has already emphasised that it will not play at the weekend if the league does not sign the agreement, which has been the subject of negotiations for the last year.
    "The league's general assembly has reject the agreement with the players by a large majority, 18 votes against two," league president Maurizio Beretta told Italian media.

    Beretta was due to meet the Italian federation later on Wednesday.

    Strike action was twice narrowly averted last season as AIC and the league tried to thrash out a new collective agreement to replace the previous one which expired at the end of the 2009/10 season.

    The main sticking point concerns players who are no longer wanted by their clubs.

    The AIC wants guarantees that these players will not be forced to train separately from their squads or be forced to move.
    The clubs want their coaching staff to be allowed to make the decision.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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