NYON: European federation UEFA has expelled Ukraine club Metalist Kharkiv from the Champions League over a matchfixing case under the club’s previous ownership writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The club, which had been due to face Schalke in the play-off round later this month, can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
In the meantime UEFA has ordered PAOK Salonika should take Metalist’s place after losing 3-1 on aggregate to the Ukrainians in the third qualifying round. PAOK’s place in the Europa League will be taken by Maccabi Tel-Aviv.
CAS has already found Metalist guilty over the original so a further appeal would appear a pointless exercise unless Metalist wish to try to cash in, literally, on the scheduled tie with the German club.
Last month CAS dismissed an appeal against a five-year ban for the club’s sporting director Yevhen Krasnikov. This had been imposed by the Ukraine federation after it found Krasnikov had helped to fix a league match against Karpaty Lviv in April 2008.
UEFA’s rules allow the governing body to deem a team ineligible for competition if they are found to have been involved directly or indirectly in ‘any activity aimed at arranging or influencing the outcome of a match at national or international level.’Action is possible back to April 2007 when the UEFA statutes were changed to allow for retrospective action.
The new owners who bought the last last December are considering an appeal against the original CAS ruling to the Swiss Federal Court. It wants a re-examination of the 250-page CAS judgment which upheld Krasnikov’s ban in a case which saw several former players banned from three to five years. Judges can overturn the sports court’s ruling only on an issue of law.
Uncertainty also surrounds the presence of Turkey’s Fenerbahce in the play-off round. Fenerbahce officials were convicted in a Turkish criminal trial of helping fix matches during the team’s successful run to the national league title in 2011.
UEFA banned Fenerbahce in June from two seasons of European club competitions but the sanction was frozen pending an appeal at CAS. Fenerbahce eliminated Salzburg in the third qualifying round to earn a playoff against Arsenal. The first leg is in Istanbul next Wednesday. CAS has promised a judgment on the eve of the group stage draw in Monaco on August 29.