NYON: UEFA prepared for an IT siege after Turkish club Fenerbahce were banned for two seasons from European competition – their second ban in three years – over a domestic Turkish match-fixing scandal.
The European federation acted in the face of the certain knowledge that its phone and email connections would come under heavy pressure from furious Fenerbahce bans who claim that their club has been set up.
UEFA announced the punishment in a statement which followed an inquiry hearing last week. Besiktas, one of the other top Istanbul clubs, have been banned for one season over events in season 2010-11.
Fenerbahce, second in the Turkish league last season, have been barred from next season’s Champions League which they had been due to enter in the third qualifying round while Besiktas will have to drop out of the Europa League.
In 2011 Fenerbahce were not entered for the Champions League by the Turkish federation.
The club will miss out not only on this coming season but on the next European competition for which they qualify. UEFA’s disciplinary panel also banned them for a third season suspended for a probationary period of five years.
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.
Last July, 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 had indicated, ahead of last week’s hearings, that the Besiktas case involved the 2011 Turkish Cup final in which they beat Buyuksehir Belediyespor on penalties after a 2-2 draw.