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Fenerbahce seeks Champs League reprieve this week

Fenerbahce seeks Champs League reprieve this week

Fenerbahce is seeking to be reinstated in the Champions League this week by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, despite being under suspicion in an ongoing Turkish match-fixing investigation.
Fenerbahce lawyer Emin Ozkurt told The Associated Press on Tuesday that it sought an interim ruling "as soon as possible" in its legal challenge against the Turkish Football Federation and Champions League organizer UEFA.
Ozkurt said sport's highest court has asked the football bodies for written submissions by midnight on Tuesday to explain why they withdrew Fenerbahce's entry.
"All we ask from CAS is to constitute a panel as soon as possible and let the panel decide on this preliminary measure. This should be received within this week," Ozkurt said on the sidelines of a meeting of Europe's top clubs.
Under CAS rules, Fenerbahce could choose one of three arbitrators hearing its appeal and opted for Ulrich Haas, Ozkurt said.
Haas, a German law professor, was selected by Alberto Contador to help judge his alleged 2010 Tour de France doping case which will be heard by CAS in November.
Ozkurt said the Turkisk federation acted hastily, with UEFA influencing events "behind the curtain," when it excluded Fenerbahce two weeks ago.
UEFA agreed that Turkish league runner-up Trabzonspor could take Fenerbahce's place in the draw, and is scheduled to open its six-match group program away to Inter Milan next week. The group also includes Lille and CSKA Moscow.
"We've been sanctioned without following necessary procedural steps," Ozkurt said. "This is not about taking Trabzonspor out and putting us back in. It's about protecting the rights of clubs against their federations and UEFA."
Fenerbahce also seeks compensation of (EURO)45 million ($63 million) for potential loss of Champions League prize money and match revenues, and a drop in its share price since the scandal emerged.
"There are big losses at the Istanbul stock exchange. We have shareholders we are responsible to," Ozkurt said.
Fenerbahce also sold defenders Diego Lugano to Paris Saint-Germain and Andre Santos to Arsenal in the days between its Champions League exclusion and the player trading window closing across Europe.
"It's a very delicate situation," the club lawyer said. "This was a strategic move that had to be done because of the damage that has already been done."
Lugano, the Uruguay captain, was settled in Istanbul with his family and reluctantly left after the scandal, Ozkurt said.
Fenerbahce President Aziz Yildirim is among more than 30 people arrested in the match-fixing probe that allegedly involves 19 games last season. The Turkish league has pushed back the start of the season for more than a month until Sept. 9 because of the investigation.
Fenerbahce still does not have details of the allegations its officials face, and had read only newspaper reports of secretly recorded telephone calls, Ozkurt said.
"None of these are official documents," he said. "We believe and hope we will come out clean from these allegations. Also, the presumption of innocence shall apply until a final decision."


Updated : 2021-01-21 01:31 GMT+08:00