LAUSANNE: The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected an appeal by Spanish club Malaga against a one-year European ban imposed by UEFA.
Thus this past season’s Champions League quarter-finalists will not be able to take up the Europa League slot for which their Liga finish would have qualified them.
The Spanish side, who finished sixth under Manchester City-bound Manuel Pellegrini, had been handed a two-year suspension last December because of unpaid bills which infringed financial fair play regulations.
The second year was waived on appeal last month by UEFA after Malaga settled their debts but CAS has rejected their attempt to overturn the first. Hence Malaga must also pay a E300,000 UEFA fine. The enforced exit from European competition may have influenced Pellegrini in his departure; he will be succeeded by German Bernd Schuster.
Malaga responded to the CAS verdict that they “had complied with the regulations” but would accept the “entire sanction.”
The club’s fortunes appeared to change for the better when Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani of the Qatari royal family was named owner in June 2010.
But problems emerged in 2011-12 over outstanding payments to other clubs, staff and tax authorities. Several players, including former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and current Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla, threatened legal action over unpaid wages.
The Spanish league also imposed a transfer ban in January 2012 after the club missed a payment to Osasuna for Spain full-back Nacho Monreal, who later followed Cazorla to north London.
Sevilla will take Malaga’s Europa League spot. They finished ninth, a place ahead of Rayo Vallecano, who were denied a UEFA licence to feature in European competition by the Spanish Federation because they had not yet agreed a timeframe to pay creditors. Rayo will now launch an appeal of their own to CAS.