LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – Fenerbahce has lost an appeal against UEFA at sport's highest court and risks a further exclusion from the Champions League or Europa League when a current two-year ban expires.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it dismissed the Turkish club's challenge to sanctions imposed after fans barred from a Europa League match in February parachuted fireworks into the empty stadium.
The court panel's published ruling said the flares stopped the Fenerbahce vs. BATE Borisov last-32 match for one minute and set a flag on fire.
UEFA closed the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul for a subsequent Europa League match, against Viktoria Plzen, and deferred a one-season expulsion from its competitions for a two-year probationary period.
UEFA said Thursday that the probationary period begins when Fenerbahce next qualifies after serving a two-season ban from European competitions over a domestic match-fixing case.
Fenerbahce, which leads the Turkish league, becomes eligible again for the 2015-16 Champions League or Europa League.
The club urged the CAS panel of three arbitrators to accept it was not responsible for the actions of supporters outside its stadium.
''The panel has sympathy for the club's difficult position in dealing with these kinds of troublemakers, but has nevertheless serious doubts ... that these troublemakers were absolutely unknown to the club,'' the ruling said.
The panel judged that a threatened one-year exclusion for a similar offense in future was justified, after UEFA sanctioned Fenerbahce for fans using fireworks at eight different matches between August and December 2012.