Soccer

Fenerbahce, Besiktas ask CAS to overturn UEFA bans

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP)

Turkish clubs Fenerbahce and Besiktas have asked sport's highest court to overturn European competition expulsions imposed by UEFA for match-fixing.

Fenerbahce wants its Champions League ban frozen until its appeal is completed, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said Wednesday.

Fenerbahce was scheduled to enter the third qualifying round draw on Friday, and play a first-leg match on July 30 or 31. Bursaspor is set to enter instead.

CAS has not set dates for hearings.

Both clubs deny wrongdoing and are challenging UEFA appeal panel rulings announced on Monday to uphold their expulsions.

UEFA judged that Fenerbahce officials fixed matches to win the 2011 Turkish league, and Besiktas fixed its 2011 Turkish Cup victory.

Fenerbahce has sent UEFA a letter on behalf of its players, protesting what is now its second Champions League ban within three seasons.

Forward Dirk Kuyt wrote that players had ''a lot of questions'' for UEFA, according to a statement published by the Istanbul club.

''It's very hard to understand after a one-year ban from European competitions in the season 2011-2012,'' said Kuyt, a Netherlands international, who helped Fenerbahce reach the Europa League semifinals last season.

''This is not even proven that we are guilty. The next year we are allowed to play football in Europe. But after that UEFA comes back again with a higher punishment,'' Kuyt said

UEFA rules bar clubs from its competitions for one season if they are connected to fixing matches played since April 2007.

UEFA's latest ruling also barred Fenerbahce for an additional season of European competition when it next qualifies.

Besiktas qualified for the Europa League by finishing third in the Turkish league, but could enter the Champions League in place of runner-up Fenerbahce.

Galatasaray, the historical rival of Fenerbahce, won the Turkish league and will play in the elite Champions League group stage, which starts in September.

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