2 Turkish clubs face Europa League expulsion
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Turkish clubs Sivasspor and Eskisehirspor face Europa League expulsion for involvement in a domestic match-fixing scandal in 2011.
UEFA said in a statement on Wednesday that its appeal panel will hear disciplinary cases against the clubs on June 2-3.
“UEFA applies a ‘zero-tolerance’ principle as regards the participation of clubs in UEFA competitions which have been involved in match-fixing activities,” the football body said.
UEFA rules demand clubs are disqualified from the Champions League or Europa League if match-fixing is proven since April 2007, when its legal statutes were updated to take tougher action against clubs involved in corruption.
Both clubs were implicated in deliberately losing to eventual champion Fenerbahce late in the 2010-11 season.
Sivasspor finished fifth in this season’s Turkish league and, on sporting merit, would enter the Europa League third qualifying round.
Eskisehirspor would enter the second qualifying round as the Turkish Cup runner-up.
Fenerbahce won the league this season but is barred from the Champions League — where it would have had direct entry to the 32-team group stage — as it completes a two-year expulsion from UEFA competitions.
Last season, Fenerbahce waged a losing legal battle with UEFA at the Court of Arbitration for Sport even as it was eliminated by Arsenal in a Champions League playoff.
In May 2011, Sivasspor lost 4-3 against Fenerbahce on the final day of the season. The Istanbul giant completed a long unbeaten run to edge Trabzonspor for the title on a better head-to-head record after they finished level on points.
Eskisehirspor lost 3-1 at home to Fenerbahce in April 2011.
Two weeks ago, it lost the cup final 1-0 against Galatasaray to earn the Europa League berth.
Galatasaray finished second in the Turkish league behind Fenerbahce but will take its city rival’s place in the group stage.
Third-placed Besiktas will enter the Champions League in July at the third qualifying round stage, one year after serving its own ban from UEFA competitions for involvement in the notorious 2011 case.
It was unclear Wednesday if Turkish clubs next in line for potentially vacant Europa League places would be judged eligible to play.