Champions League: Arsenal’s opponents Fenerbahce face European expulsion

Gunners could lose the tie, then be reprieved by CAS

The prospect of Arsenal being knocked out of the Champions League then being reinstated arose after they were paired with Fenerbahce in the draw for the competition’s play-off round.

The Turkish club were given a two-year ban by Uefa in June for alleged match-fixing when winning the 2011 Turkish title, but they appealed to the Court of Arbitration in Sport. The sanction was subsequently suspended until the case is heard, with a verdict due by 28 August (the day before the full Champions League draw). Arsenal travel to Istanbul on 21 August, with the home leg at the Emirates six days later. It is not clear what will  happen if the CAS upholds Uefa’s ban, but it is possible Arsenal could lose the tie, then be reprieved.

Another possibility is that the CAS comes to a decision within the next fortnight, which could mean Salzburg – whom Fenerbahce beat in the third qualifying round this week – are reprieved. That  might be preferable to Arsenal than receiving a bye, since every home match at the Emirates is worth £3m to the club.

If the Fenerbahce tie takes place, Arsenal will be travelling out of Europe as Fenerbahce’s Sukru Saracoglu Stadium is on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. It can be an intimidating venue but Arsenal won 5-2 there when the teams met in the Champions League in 2008 before being held to a goalless draw in London.

There is plenty of money in Turkish football these days and Fenerbahce have several players familiar to English audiences. The ex-Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt heads a trio of former Premier League players – the others being Joseph Yobo, previously of Everton, and one-time Newcastle midfielder Emre Belozoglu. They also have the Portuguese pair Raul Meireles and Bruno Alves, Yobo’s Nigerian team-mate Emmanuel Emenike and a clutch of Turkey internationals led by goalkeeper Volkan Demirel.

Celtic face a logistically daunting 6,000-mile round trip to the industrial city of Karagandy to play Kazakhstan champions Shakhter. They should not take their opponents for granted, given that Shakhter knocked out Champions League regulars BATE Borisov in the second qualifying round. Shakhter have also been penalised for match-fixing – by the Kazakh authorities in 2008. In the tie of the play-off round PSV Eindhoven play Milan.

In the draw for the Europa League’s final qualifying round Tottenham were paired with Georgian champions Dynamo Tbilisi, once a great team but now a shadow of their former selves, and Swansea meet Romania’s Petrolul Ploiesti. It will be a reunion for the managers as Petrolul’s Cosmin Contra, played for Swansea’s Michael Laudrup at Getafe.

Laudrup is refusing to set any targets beyond getting to the group stage of the Europa League. He said: “You take it step by step, we have two domestic cup competitions plus the Europa League and the Premier League. We could set a target and say it would be nice to do this or that, but you cannot do that.

“Now we are at the play-offs and, hopefully, we can get to the group stage and have six group games.”

British interest: European draws

Champions League play-offs

Fenerbahce v Arsenal

Shakhter Karagandy v Celtic

Ties to be played 20/21 & 27/28 August

Europa League play-offs

Dynamo Tbilisi v Tottenham Hotspur

Swansea City v Petrolul Ploiesti

Ties to be played 22 & 29 August

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project