Soccer

Sports court expels Fenerbahce for match-fixing

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The Canadian Press
8/28/2013 9:57:58 AM
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ZURICH, Switzerland -- Two years after a Turkish match-fixing scandal broke, Fenerbahce has been expelled from the Europa League and barred from qualifying for next season's Champions League.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Wednesday it dismissed the 18-time Turkish champion's appeal against a two-year competition ban imposed by UEFA.

"Pursuant to the UEFA decision, which is now confirmed by the CAS, Fenerbahce is excluded from two editions of the UEFA club competitions," the court said in a statement.

CAS also confirmed Metalist Kharkiv's expulsion from the Champions League in another old fixing case involving national league matches. Detailed reasons for the urgent rulings will be published later.

Fenerbahce pledged to challenge the verdict at Switzerland's supreme court, where Metalist has already filed an appeal. Swiss federal judges can intervene if legal process was abused.

"We are determined to continue our legal struggle until the end at every (available) platform," the Istanbul club said in a statement.

Still, the CAS panel's judgment immediately removes Fenerbahce from the group stage of the Europa League.

Fenerbahce was due to join the second-tier competition after being eliminated by Arsenal in the Champions League playoffs on Tuesday.

UEFA said its emergency panel, chaired by President Michel Platini, will meet Thursday in Monaco to "decide on the consequences" of Fenerbahce's expulsion from the Europa League.

UEFA expelled Fenerbahce in June after judging that club officials, who were convicted of corruption in a criminal trial, helped fix matches to win the 2011 Turkish league title.

Fenerbache's president, Aziz Yildirim, and others continue to deny wrongdoing and have appealed their convictions.

Fenerbahce hinted Wednesday at a plot against the club, suggesting "a bargaining process took place on the penalty Fenerbahce should receive."

Platini has long warned of the threat match-fixing poses to football's integrity, and UEFA rules bar clubs from its competitions which are implicated in fixing matches played since April 2007.

UEFA agreed to let Fenerbahce play Champions League matches this season pending the CAS verdict.

Two years ago, the Turkish Football Federation -- reportedly under pressure from UEFA -- withdrew Fenerbahce from the group stage of the Champions League as detailed allegations emerged.

Metalist was disqualified by UEFA this month after advancing to the playoff round. Its previous opponent, PAOK Thessaloniki, was reinstated and then eliminated on Tuesday by Schalke. PAOK now enters the Europa League.

UEFA acted upon a CAS verdict which confirmed a five-year ban from football for Metalist's sporting director, who was implicated in fixing a match in April 2008.

Moussa Sow (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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