KEIR RADNEDGE in KYIV: European federation UEFA has taken a significant step into unlocking the deadlock over the status of Turkish sport in general and its football in particular but clearing Fenerbahce to return to international club competition.
The record Turkish champions were barred from the Champions League last season amid enormous controversy following a domestic matchfixing which prompted major upheavals within the federation and whose fallout continues in a long-running court trial.
Political confusion had cast a shadow over both the Turkish federation’s wish to host the Euro 2020 football finals and also the National Olympic Committee’s bid to host the 2020 Games in Istanbul.
This is an issue which must still be resolved but at least it can now be addressed against a less murky backdrop.
The shift forward stems from a decision by UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Body to allow both the Disciplinary Inspector and Fenerbahçe to file additional submissions in the row.
UEFA has cautioned that the statements and documentation must still be examined in detail. However it is virtually inconceivable that it will undertake another volte-face after stating formally formally and publicly that “for the time being, therefore, Fenerbahçe may participate in the UEFA competition for which they are eligible.”
Last week a one-year UEFA ban on Bursaspor’s participation in the Europa League – over financial issues – was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. CAS imposed a heavier fine on the club (see separate article).
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