APOEL replace Fenerbahçe in Europa League

Harold Cunningham

Cypriot club APOEL Nicosia have been selected to replace Fenerbahçe in today's Europa League group stage draw.

After being beaten by Arsenal in the Champions League playoffs, Fenerbahçe were initially penciled in for a position in the Europa League group stages. However, their appeal against a match-fixing suspension from UEFA club competitions was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) earlier this week, meaning a playoff loser was selected to replace them.

The lucky winners (or, in this case, lucky losers) are Cyprus' APOEL, who memorably reached the quarter finals of the Champions League two seasons ago, only to be knocked out by Real Madrid. They are the second Cypriot team in the Europa League draw after Apollon Limassol, and have had a reprieve after losing to Belgian side Zulte Waregem in the playoff round.

However, a team who won't be in Friday's group stage draw are Fener's compatriots Beşiktaş. They were also fighting a UEFA suspension for alleged match-fixing, though have had their appeal rejected by CAS, and thus have been expelled from this season's Europa League. They'll be replaced in the draw by the team they beat in the playoff round, Tromsø.

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