Soccer

Fenerbahce loses Champs League spot in UEFA appeal

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NYON, Switzerland (AP)

Fenerbahce has lost its appeal to UEFA against expulsion from this season's Champions League for match-fixing, and the Turkish club can now ask sports' highest court for an emergency ruling.

Announcing verdicts Monday, UEFA said its appeals panel upheld an earlier disciplinary verdict that club officials helped fix matches in its 2010-11 league title run.

Fenerbahce finished runner-up in the Turkish Super Lig last season and would have entered the Champions League third qualifying round, needing to beat two opponents to advance to the lucrative group stage.

The draw is scheduled for Friday and Bursaspor should now take the second Turkish entry. Champion Galatasaray goes directly into the 32-team group stage being drawn next month.

Fenerbahce, which was also expelled from the Champions League two years ago, can challenge UEFA's verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Club officials, including president Aziz Yildirim, deny wrongdoing and are appealing their criminal convictions in Turkish courts.

With Fenerbahce banned, third-placd Beziktas could have taken its Istanbul rival's vacant Champions League place. However, UEFA has also dismissed Beziktas's appeal against suspension for fixing the 2011 Turkish Cup final, leaving the entry clear for fourth-place Bursaspor. Besiktas could also appeal to CAS.

Fenerbahce also remains banned for an additional year of UEFA's club competitions when it next qualifies.

UEFA said Fenerbahce's appeal was partially admitted because a deferred suspension for a third season was annulled following the hearing held last Wednesday. UEFA took several days to confirm the judgments.



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