Fenerbahce to appeal UEFA decisionAP , Associated Press
Jun. 27, 2013 11:26 AM ET
ISTANBUL (AP) — Fenerbahce's chairman again denied match-fixing charges against the club and said on Thursday he's confident a UEFA appeals body will overturn a decision to expel them from the Champions League.
Aziz Yildirim said Fenerbahce would "fly a plane-load of people" to give evidence in the club's defense at an appeals hearing.
Fenerbahce was banned this week from the next three UEFA club competitions for which it would have qualified, starting with next season's Champions League, in relation to a fixing case that dates to the Istanbul side's run to the Turkish league title in 2011. UEFA said the punishment for the third competition would be deferred for a five-year probation period.
Yildirim was convicted last year in a criminal trial which is being appealed at a higher Turkish court. The club has claimed serious shortcomings in the trial and on Thursday Yildirim lashed out at UEFA for basing its decision on the Turkish case — which is not yet final and which Fenerbahce insists is flawed.
"We will make the best defense ever at the appeals," Yildirim said. "We did not engage in match-fixing. We are cleaner than the club that claims to be cleanest."
A club official said Fenerbahce would file a formal request for an appeal with UEFA on Friday and would take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport as a final resort.
Yildirim insisted UEFA's decision will be overturned.
"This case is an unfortunate case that will land UEFA in trouble," Yildirim claimed. "The UEFA may crack because of this case."
Fenerbahce finished second in the Turkish league last season and was set to enter the Champions League at the third qualifying-round stage, needing to beat two opponents to enter the lucrative 32-team group stage.
The club was also banished from the 2011-12 Champions League after the initial fixing allegations were made.