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Fenerbahce and Besiktas banned from 2013/14 Europa League

UEFAUEFA has banned 18-time Turkish soccer champion Fenerbahce from competing in next season’s Champions League competition due to allegations of match-fixing while fellow Istanbul club Besiktas has been kicked out of the 2013/14 Europa League.

European football’s governing body ruled that Fenerbahce will not be able to compete in the next three UEFA competitions for which it becomes eligible although the third year of the ban was deferred for a period of five years.

Fenerbahce reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last season while finishing second in the Turkish Super Lig behind Galatasaray and one place above Besiktas. The season was subsequently marred by allegations of match-fixing although the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) ruled following an investigation that any such attempts had ‘not reflected on the pitch’ and refused to punish any of the clubs.

UEFA disagreed and has now ruled that Bursaspor will take Fenerbahce’s spot in next season’s Champions League while ninth-placed Trabzonspor has been invited to fill Besiktas’ place in the 2013/14 Europa League competition.

“It is a surprising decision and I have a hard time understanding it,” said Fikret Orman, Chairman for Besiktas.

“We will definitely appeal against the decision because Besiktas, with its fame and glory, is the most well-established club of Turkey.”

UEFA stated in its decision that ‘certain additional information will be collected in order to consider in further detail the different position of each of the individuals concerned’. This is thought to relate to Aziz Yildirim, Chairman for Fenerbahce, and board member Sekip Mosturoglu in addition to Serdal Adali, a past executive with Besiktas, and the team’s coach, Tayfur Havutcu, who have all been found guilty of match-fixing by a local court.

“We could not understand why UEFA demanded extra information on Tayfur Havutcu and Serdal Adali,” said Orman.

“We are hopeful about the appeal process [and] we will pursue our rights until the very end.”