Fenerbahce ruled out of UCL
Turkish champion Fenerbahce lost its final chance to play in this season's Champions League on Friday when the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the club's request for an emergency ruling to be reinstated.
Fenerbahce asked for a provisional ruling to overturn the Turkish Football Federation's decision to withdraw the club's entry while it is under suspicion in a criminal probe into match-fixing.
Fenerbahce is also appealing against UEFA because it wants at least €45 million ($63 million) to compensate for its exclusion, and believes the European governing body influenced Turkey's decision.
''The purpose of the urgent request was the reinstatement for the first match next week,'' CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb told The Associated Press.
League runner-up Trabzonspor has taken Fenerbahce's place and will begin the six-match group stage at Inter Milan next Wednesday. The group also includes Lille and CSKA Moscow.
UEFA approved Trabzonspor's entry on the eve of the draw last month even though the club lost to Benfica in a qualifying-round match.
CAS will now prepare for Fenerbahce's main hearing against the TFF and UEFA, which is likely to be in several weeks.
''Now the full appeal will continue because Fenerbahce can also request damages if, in the end, they are found innocent,'' Reeb said.
Fenerbahce has said it will seek damages for the loss of potential Champions League prize money and match revenues, and a drop in its share price since the scandal emerged in July.
Club lawyer Emin Ozkurt claimed that the CAS ruling has improved its case.
''Fenerbahce's financial loss has grown as a result of this decision,'' Ozkurt told the state-run Anatolia news agency. ''It strengthens Fenerbahce's demand for compensation.''
Fenerbahce President Aziz Yildirim is among more than 30 people arrested in the investigation that allegedly involves 19 games last season.
Yildirim's club went unbeaten through the second half of the season and beat Trabzonspor to the title on goal difference. Trabzonspor officials have also been questioned.
However, Fenerbahce has not been stripped of its title and prosecutors have yet to present criminal charges in the case.
The Turkish league has pushed back the start of the season for more than a month until this weekend because of the investigation, and officials declined Fenerbahce's offer to be relegated to the second tier.
Mehmet Ali Aydinlar, president of the TFF, said Friday that it would announce its decisions on the match-fixing probe at the end of the upcoming season in order not to deprive Turkish fans of their entertainment.
''The Super League, unquestionably, is the most important sports product of this country,'' Aydinlar said in a statement ahead of the opening matches on Saturday. ''Our federation will take its decision following the ongoing legal procedure at the end of the 2011-2012 football season.''
Aydinlar said all teams will play until the end of the season.