NYON - Trabzonspor, handed a
tough draw against Benfica in Champions League qualifying on
Friday, said they deserved to be champions of Turkey after their
league was rocked by a match-fixing scandal.
Twenty-six people have been jailed, including the chairman
of champions Fenerbahce, who feature highly in the police
investigation which has overshadowed preparations for the new
However, the Turkish Football Federation has said it will
not launch its own probe until the indictment is prepared,
effectively confirming Fenerbahce as champions for now and
putting them into the lucrative Champions League group stages.
Trabzonspor finished second last season, meaning they go
into the third qualifying round rather than qualifying directly
for the group stage.
"We did our best, we got 82 points but we still didn't get
the championship," Trabzonspor director Nevzat Aydin told
"We should be at the group stage draw in Monaco, not here in
Nyon. We deserve to be champions of Turkey under these
Aydin said that Trabzonspor had six members questioned by
police but that all had been released.
"I don't want to speculate because there are a lot of
rumours, but the facts are that the president of Fenerbahce is
in jail, the vice-president is in jail and the accountant is in
jail," he added.
UEFA have said there is no reason to ban Turkish clubs from
European competition on current evidence.
Before the draw, UEFA secretary Gianni Infantino reiterated
UEFA's intention to heavily clamp down on match-fixing.
"In these uncertain times, with stories and rumours of
match-fixing circulating across the continent, it is more
important than ever to show respect for the game, for the
officials, for your opponents and, most important of all,
respect for the fans," he said.
"With new and tougher disciplinary regulations, we will not
hesitate to come down very hard on any individual or
individuals, clubs or officials that are proved to be involved
in such illegal activities. Our policy remains zero tolerance."
Benfica, twice European champions, will play the first leg
at home on July 26 or 27 with the return one week later.
In other ties, Danish champions FC Copenhagen, who last
season became the first Danish team to reach the knockout
stages, were drawn against either Shamrock Rovers of Ireland or
Flora Tallinn of Estonia.
Scottish champions Rangers will face either Malmo -
European Cup runners-up in 1979 - or HB Torshavn from the Faroe
Islands and Dynamo Kiev take on Rubin Kazan from Russia.
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