The disciplinary committee of Europe’s football governing body Uefa has ruled to hand European competition bans to Turkish clubs Fenerbahce and Besiktas, but issued only a suspended sentence for Romanian champions Steaua.
Uefa’s disciplinary body was asked to rule following investigations into allegations of match-fixing against the clubs. In its decision, announced late on June 25, Uefa’s disciplinary committee did not say what evidence was presented to it. The ruling can be challenged in Uefa’s appeals body.
Fenerbahce were banned from participating in the next two European competitions that they qualify for, which could be extended to a third season if the club is found to breached Uefa regulations in the next five years.
Turkish football authorities withdrew Fenerbahce from the Uefa Champions League tournament in 2011/12 following an investigation into match-fixing by club officials during the 2010/11 season, when the club won the title, Turkish daily Hurriyet said. However, Turkey’s football federation has made no moves to strip Fenerbahce of the title.
Last year, club chairman Aziz Yildirim was sentenced to six years in prison for fixing six matches, a sentence that he is appealing, the BBC reported.
Besiktas were investigated on similar allegations, including claims of fixing the 2011 Turkish Cup final. The club was banned from participating in the 2013/14 edition of the Europa League, Uefa said.
The places of Fenerbahce and Besiktas in European competitions will be taken by Bursaspor (which finished fourth in the league but will play in the Champions League now), Kayserispor (replacing Besiktas in the Europa League) and Kasimpasa (taking Bursaspor’s spot in the Europa League), Turkish daily Hurriyet reported.
Steaua has been handed a one-year provisional ban, with a five-year probationary period. In its case, club officials had paid teams playing Steaua’s title rivals to offer an additional performance incentive, but did not try to fix the outcome of Steaua’s own matches.
According to a report in Romanian sports daily Gazeta Sporturilor, the club’s lawyers argued that the club officials were found guilty of corruption under an outdated penal code. Under the new legislation, which will go into effect next year, such “financial awards” will no longer be considered criminal offenses.
(Photo: juan carlos arellano/sxc.hu)