UEFA: No ban for Turkish clubs in Europe

BERNE - UEFA has no reason on current evidence to ban any of the Turkish clubs involved in match-fixing investigations from European competition at this stage, European football's governing body said on Tuesday.

The announcement came a day after Turkish police detained 22 people, including the chairman of Trabzonspor, in a widening match-fixing investigation which has already put 26 people in jail pending trial.

"UEFA has full confidence in the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to submit to UEFA the names of the clubs to be entered based purely on sporting merit, and to take the necessary strong action in this case with the information at its disposal," said UEFA in a statement.

"Given the information received so far by UEFA there is nothing according to the UEFA statutes or regulations that leads UEFA to refuse entry to any of the clubs currently involved in the investigations in Turkey."

"In addition, every club participating in UEFA club competitions has provided UEFA with a written guarantee that they have not been involved in match-fixing activities.

"UEFA requests the Turkish state authorities to pass on any relevant information regarding the ongoing investigations to the TFF as soon as possible, in order that sports justice can be carried out in the most judicious manner."

A major nationwide investigation has plunged preparations for the new Turkish season into chaos less than a month before kick-off and could result in champions Fenerbahce being stripped of their title.

The detention of Trabzonspor's Sadri Sener in Istanbul on Monday came just hours after the chairman of Fenerbahce, Aziz Yildirim, was remanded in custody on charges of match-fixing and forming a criminal organisation.

Other Fenerbahce board members are also among the 26 people who have been remanded in custody after police raids a week ago, prompted by alleged evidence of result manipulation in 19 matches.

Among these matches was Fenerbahce's 4-3 victory over Sivasspor which clinched the title for them on the final day of the season, according to media reports.

UEFA said that it could always backtrack if wrongdoing was proved at a later stage.

"A decision to exclude a club from a competition, or from any future European competitions for a number of years, can be made at any time if it transpires that the club in question obtained qualification via manipulated or fixed matches," said UEFA.

"There is no doubt this is a complex case which is still evolving, but the matches under suspicion clearly fall within the sporting jurisdiction of the TFF and the legal jurisdiction of the Turkish judicial system.

"UEFA therefore cannot comment on any potential outcomes."

Fenerbahce have qualified directly for the Champions League group stage as champions while second-placed Trabzonspor will go into the third qualifying round.

The draw for the third qualifying round will be made on Friday.