NYON/ISTANBUL: Turkish clubs Fenerbahce and Besiktas will have to go to the Court of Arbitration of Sport if they wish to have any hope of playing in European club competition this coming season.
The appeals commission of European federation UEFA has upheld suspensions imposed on the two clubs over allegations surrounding the long-running matchfixing crisis within Turkish football.
Fenerbahce did win a slight easing of the punishment imposed by UEFA last month but this does not affect their bar from the forthcoming Champions League preliminary draw.
After hearings last month, UEFA barred Besiktas for one season over allegations concerning the 2011 Turkish Cup final in which they beat Buyuksehir Belediyespor on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
Fenerbahce, second in the Turkish league last season, were barred from next season’s Champions League , for the next European competition for which they qualify and for a third season suspended for a probationary period of five years.
The club succeeded only in persuading the appeals body to rescind the suspended third season sanction. Thus they face a second ban in three seasons after being excluded from Europe in 2011-12.
Fenerbahce won the title in the 2010-11 season with a 4-3 win over Sivasspor in their last match, which was one of around a dozen games investigated by the TFF. In July last year a Turkish court convicted 93 defendants, including Fenerbahce chairman Aziz Yildirim, club executives and players, in connection with the case. Yildirim was sentenced to more than six years in prison but was freed in bail pending appeal.
He and Fenerbahce fans claimed that they had been the victims of dirty dealing by political and construction rivals.
Two months before that, the TFF imposed bans of between one and three years on 10 players and officials but did not take action against any clubs after an easing of the law relating to sporting fraud. The indictment named eight clubs, including Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Trabzonspor and 14 players among the defendants.
UEFA’s latest statement said: “The UEFA appeals body carefully analysed the statements and documents submitted by Besiktas and Fenerbahce related to their specific cases, as well as the statements and documents submitted by the UEFA Disciplinary Inspectors appointed to each case, and reached the following decisions.
“Besiktas have had their appeal rejected. Consequently, Besiktas are not eligible to participate in the 2013-14 UEFA Europa League.
“Fenerbahce have had their appeal partially admitted. Consequently, Fenerbahce are excluded from participating in the next two UEFA club competitions they qualify for, including the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League.”
The only remaining appeals route for the clubs now is through Lausanne-based CAS, world sport’s supreme court.