Turkish team removed from UCL

Turkish team removed from UCL

Published Aug. 24, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Turkish champion Fenerbahce was removed from the Champions League on Wednesday on the eve of the group-stage draw because of an ongoing match-fixing investigation.

Turkey's Football Federation said it withdrew Fenerbahce after holding emergency meetings.

Fenerbahce's removal came 24 hours before it was due to take its place among 32 elite European clubs in a draw being conducted in Monaco.

It was unclear how UEFA will choose a replacement for Fenerbahce, which was suspected of fixing matches to win the title last season.


The decision came after Champions League organizer UEFA sent its legal counsel for integrity, Pierre Cornu, to Turkey for meetings this week with senior football officials.

The Turkish probe threatened to cause havoc in UEFA's marquee club competition, with Fenerbahce having been scheduled to play six group matches from September to December.

UEFA had warned it would kick out any team, and wipe its results from the record, if any match-fixing allegation was proven.

Turkey could lose its place entirely in the competition.

Runner-up Trabzonspor was eliminated in the Champions League qualifying rounds but has also been implicated in the match-fixing probe.

Turkey's champion club traditionally earns at least ?20 million ($29 million) from playing in the competition, based on UEFA bonuses, match results and a share of Turkish broadcasting deals.