Last-minute addition Fenerbahçe to face Salzburg in the Champions League qualifier

Last-minute addition Fenerbahçe to face Salzburg in the Champions League qualifier

NYON, Switzerland
Last-minute addition Fenerbahçe to face Salzburg in the Champions League qualifier

Fenerbahçe will enter the Champions League third qualifying round draw. DHA photo

Fenerbahçe has been pitted against FC Salzburg in the Champions League third qualifying round, after the top-level UEFA competition draw was made on July 19, a day after its match-fixing ban was stayed.

The Turkish Super League runner-up will face Salzburg on July 30 or 31, and the return leg will be on Aug. 6 or 7, despite a potential ban hanging over its head.

Fenerbahçe is awaiting a final decision on whether it will be allowed to continue in the competition after initially being banned by UEFA for its role in a 2011 domestic match-fixing scandal. Fenerbahçe has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which provisionally overturned the UEFA ban, allowing the club to be included in the draw, pending a full hearing.

A decision is due to be made on August 28, just one day before the draw for the Champions League group stages takes place. If Fenerbahçe reaches that stage, it could still be excluded before the draw is made.

Along with Istanbul rivals Beşiktaş, the Yellow Canaries were given permission on July 18 to enter draws for European competition after the CAS issued a stay of execution on the club’s bans from UEFA competitions, marking a crucial step in the string of two-year match-fixing related incidents.

Beşiktaş, which will enter the playoff round of the Europa League, will learn its opponent on Aug. 9.

Two other Turkish teams that were involved in the Europa League draws were Bursaspor and Trabzonspor. The latter is set to play in a second qualifying round tie against Derry City of Northern Ireland on July 25.

Bursa, Trabzon in draw

Bursaspor will play the winner of the tie between Serbia’s Vojvodina and Hungary’s Honved. The Serbian side has an edge after winning the first leg game 2-0 on July 18.

If Trabzonspor, which beat Derry City 4-2 in the first leg, can advance to the third round, it will meet the winner of the tie between Belarus’ Dinamo Minsk and Croatia’s Lokomotiva Zagreb.

The winners of the third qualifying round will advance to a playoff round, which will also include Beşiktaş, in advance of the Europa League.

Earlier this week, UEFA dealt Fenerbahçe a two-year ban and Beşiktaş a one-year suspension due to the two teams’ match-fixing convictions.

The two teams then made an application to the CAS, which confirmed on July 17 that it had “registered an appeal filed by Fenerbahçe SK and a request for provisional measures filed by Beşiktaş JK against UEFA, in relation to the decisions taken by the UEFA Appeals Body on July 10 and 11, 2013.” The CAS subsequently stayed the ban against the clubs, allowing them to enter the draw.

Both Istanbul clubs and their executives were involved in a match-fixing investigation that started July 3, 2011, regarding a number of games in the 2010-2011 season, at the end of which Fenerbahçe was crowned as champion. The same investigation charged two Beşiktaş officials with attempts to manipulate a rival player ahead of the 2011 Turkish Cup final against Istanbul BB. Beşiktaş went on to win the trophy on penalties, after a game in which the mentioned player, İbrahim Akın, scored a goal.