The women's European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) has awarded a wildcard ticket for the 2012-2013 Champions League to Galatasaray rather than last year's Champions League fourth-place finisher, Fenerbahçe Universal.
The decision, announced Tuesday on the CEV website, doubtless came as a surprise to Fenerbahçe's 2011-2012 semi-finalist team and will mark the first time Galatasaray has participated in the CEV Champions League. The CEV did not elaborate as to why Fenerbahçe had not been selected for the coming season, but the Turkish press speculated on Tuesday that it may have been because the team had “failed to adhere to CEV league regulations.”
Last year, Fenerbahçe ranked among the top Turkish national teams, finishing second to Eczacıbaşı İstanbul in the Turkish Women's Volleyball League. Galatasaray, however, did not finish in the top four. Such a performance would usually have made Fenerbahçe an easy pick for Turkey's wildcard slot in the coming League games, but rival Galatasaray was given the position instead. Besides Galatasaray, other first-timers in the Champions League will be Italian squad Yamamay Busto Arsizio and Azerbaijan's Lokomotiv Baku.
Galatasaray's wildcard spot in this season's Champions League will earn it a chance to play among the 24 Champions League teams, among them the Turkish squads Eczacıbaşı VitrA and Vakıfbank Türk Telekom.