Fenerbahce lose UEFA appeal

Turkish giants will miss this season's Champions League following long-running match-fixing case.

    Fenerbahce lose UEFA appeal
    Five of the club’s officials were charged in June by UEFA for their role in the match-fixing saga [AFP]

    Fenerbahce have lost their appeal to UEFA against expulsion from this season's European Champions League for match-fixing, and the Turkish club can now ask sports' highest court for an emergency ruling.

    Announcing verdicts on Monday, UEFA said its appeals panel upheld an earlier disciplinary verdict that club officials helped fix matches in their 2010-11 league title run.

    Fenerbahce finished runners-up in the Turkish Super Lig last season and would have entered the Champions League third qualifying round, needing to beat two opponents to advance to the lucrative group stage.

    The draw is scheduled for Friday and Bursaspor should now take the second Turkish entry. Champions Galatasaray go directly into the 32-team group stage being drawn next month.

    Fenerbahce, who were also expelled from the Champions League two years ago, can challenge UEFA's verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    Club officials, including president Aziz Yildirim, deny wrongdoing and are appealing their criminal convictions in Turkish courts.

    With Fenerbahce banned, third-placed Besiktas could have taken their Istanbul rival's vacant Champions League place. However, UEFA has also dismissed Besiktas's appeal against suspension for fixing the 2011 Turkish Cup final, leaving the entry clear for fourth-place Bursaspor. Besiktas could also appeal to CAS.

    Fenerbahce also remain banned for an additional year of UEFA's club competitions when they next qualify.

    UEFA said Fenerbahce's appeal was partially admitted because a deferred suspension for a third season was annulled following the hearing held last Wednesday. UEFA took several days to confirm the judgments.



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