Fenerbahce Banned from Champions League by TFF

August 25, 2011

Turkey’s Football Federation (TFF) have excluded Fenerbahce from playing in Europe’s elite competition the Champions League this season amid claims the club is involved in a police investigation into alleged match-fixing.

The federation made the decision after European soccer body UEFA said it might take disciplinary action against the entire Turkish league if Fenerbahce didn’t withdraw from the competition, according to a published statement on the Istanbul-based federation’s website.

“In the face of this development, on 24 August an extraordinary meeting of the board of directors was held to discuss the threat of the Turkish Football Federation being exposed to severe disciplinary sanctions if Fenerbahce took part in the UEFA Champions League this season, and it was decided to bar them from participating,” the statement said.

Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino added: “The panel considered that the Turkish Football Federation took the right decision to protect the game, fully in line with our zero-tolerance policy against match-fixing.”

More than 30 players and officials have been jailed pending trial, including Fenerbahce chairman Aziz Yildirim and the coach and deputy chairman of Besiktas, in connection with alleged manipulation in 19 matches.

The decision came less than 24 hours before tomorrow’s Champions League group draw in Monaco. UEFA’s emergency panel selected Turkish club Trabzonspor to replace Fenerbahce in the draw, the governing body said on its website.

Trabzonspor had already been eliminated from this season’s Champions League in the qualifying rounds.

The decision means that their scheduled Europa League qualifier against Athletic Bilbao on Thursday has been cancelled, with the Spanish club progressing automatically.

In a statement on its website, Turkish league champion Fenerbahce called the federation’s decision “a clear violation of the law that negates decisions the federation has taken itself.”

The federation last week ruled that it wouldn’t take action on the match-fixing investigation until prosecutors released a full charge sheet and details of the evidence they’ve gathered.