Today was a sour day for Turkish clubs, as UEFA announced that both Fenerbahce and Besiktas have been banned from European competition for match-fixing.
Fenerbahce were the hardest hit, as they will be banned from next season’s Champions League over the match-fixing charge, they have also been banned from European soccer for three seasons. However the third season in which they qualify is deferred for a probationary period of five years.
Meanwhile Besiktas have also been handed a suspension by UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Body (CDB), and will not compete in the Europa League next season. However that is the full extent of their ban.
The charges come after match-fixing occurred in Turkish league games way back in 2011, and Fenerbahce have already been banned from European competition once for that scandal. But despite being banned from the 2011-12 Champions League campaign, the Istanbul side now face a further two to three seasons away from Europe’s elite club competition.
Both clubs can appeal their bans to the UEFA Appeals Body. While Romanian side Steaua Bucharest have also been banned for one year but that has been deferred for a probationary period of five years.
So with European and world soccer working so hard to clean up match-fixing, this ban acts to highlight it is still around.
Fenerbahce may appeal after they’ve already been banned from European competition once before, however I really can’t see UEFA changing their stance on this one.
It is something that needs to be eradicated from the game ASAP. So I salute the three-year ban handed out to the Istanbul side. Financially that will be hugely out of pocket and they will be forced to change plenty of the personnel who have featured in their downfall.
What other measures can be brought in to stop match-fixing? Answer on a postcard please. But for now all we have is UEFA and I have to take my hat off to them, swift and lengthy punishments will hopefully help this terrible parasite leave the beautiful game.