FENERBAHCE was yesterday banned from playing European football for the next two years over a match-fixing scandal which was being investigated long before they played Arsenal in the Champions League qualifying round this month.

OK, Arsenal won 5-0 over the two legs but playing the Turks cost the side dearly with a number of key players nursing injuries picked up playing what have transpired two have been two pointless and worthless games.

With these games having come right on the eve of and in between the first set of fixtures of the new Premier League season did no one at UEFA think about the possible outcome and implication of having a team whose future in the European competition was already in doubt play before the investigation was resolved.

Arsenal have progressed in the Champions League but at what cost.

Key players injured, some for up to ten weeks, and manager Arsene Wenger under pressure more than ever to spend in what is left of the transfer window to cover the gaps in the side caused as a result of the wasted two-leg fixture.

If I was in charge at Arsenal, or any other club in a similar position, I would sue UEFA for negligence, the body has had all Summer to carry out the investigation, but by leaving it so late, Arsenal have paid a heavy price for two games we needed have been played.

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