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Soccer

UEFA bans Turkish clubs Fenerbahce and Besiktas

Turkish football clubs Fenerbahce and Besiktas have been banned from European competition next season over a domestic match-fixing scandal. There was also a deferred sanction against Romania’s Steaua Bucharest.

UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body (CDB) on Tuesday ruled that Fenerbahce would be barred from the next three European competitions for which they qualify, including the 2013/2014 Champions League.

The ban for the third season, however, would be deferred for a probationary period of five years, said the CDB.

The fixing of results involved several soccer matches in the 2010/11 league season.

Among them was match in which the Istanbul side clinched the league title on the last day of the campaign - a 4-3 win over Sivasspor. The game was one of about a dozen investigated by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).

Besiktas face a lighter sanction, the punishment arising from charges of match fixing relating to the 2011/2012 Turkish Cup final. Besiktas won that game on penalties against city rivals Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor.

The CDB ruled that Besiktas - who finished third in the Turkish top flight this season - should be banned from next season's Europa League alone. The club would have been due to contest play-offs during the summer for the competition's group stage.

Individuals to be investigated

Both clubs have said they plan to appeal the decision. UEFA's disciplinary panel said it was also considering allegations against particular individuals.

"In relation to the individuals of the clubs involved in the cases of Fenerbahce and Besiktas, the CDB decided that certain additional information will be collected in order to consider in further detail the different position of each of the individuals concerned," said a statement.

Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim was among 93 executives, football officials and players convicted by a Turkish court in the match-rigging scandal. Yildirim was sentenced to six years in prison, but freed after launching an appeal, which is still proceeding.

Fenerbahce were withdrawn from the Champions League the year after the allegations surfaced but were allowed to take part in last year's competition.

Eight Turkish clubs and 14 players were named in an initial indictment. The TFF's disciplinary committee last May imposed bans of between one and three years on 10 players and officials. However it did not take any action against clubs.

In a third case, the CDB banned Steaua Bucharest - the 1986 European Cup winner - from the next UEFA competition it qualified for. However, the sanction was deferred for a probationary period of five years. Club president Gigi Becali was convicted last month of attempting to bribe a team to influence a result against Steaua's title rivals in 2008.

rc/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)