NYON: Metalist Kharkiv are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against Wednesday’s expulsion of the Ukraine club by UEFA over a domestic match-fixing case dating back to 2008.

Metalist finished as league runners-up last season and are due to face German club Schalke 04 in the play-off round of the 2013-14 Champions League.

UEFA’s Appeals Body decided to disqualify Metalist from 2013-14 UEFA club competition after the club lost a CAS appeal against the match-fixing case earlier this month. UEFA’s Emergency Panel, composed of five members of the executive committee, decided to replace Metalist with Greek club PAOK Salonika who had been beaten by Metalist in the third qualifying round.

PAOK should now face Schalke in the Champions League play-offs, with the first leg to be played on August 21 in Germany. PAOK will not be replaced in the Europa League play-offs and their scheduled opponents, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, would qualify directly for the group stage.

Metalist first vice-president Kostyantyn Pyvovarov has expressed the club’s determination to fight the ruling stating his belief that Metalist should not be punished for the actions of a former regime.

He said: “We regret that such a sanction was applied, and we do not agree with it, that’s why today we plan to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

‘Fair fight’

“I want to remind you that the contract match, which allegedly took place, was held back in 2008, with the old owners of the club. At the same time, Metalist has won the right to participate in the Champions League 2013-14 in a fair fight.

“Our team and our fans deserve to take part in the main football competition in Europe. I want to assure fans that we will fight for the rights of the club and protect them in accordance with all legal requirements.”

Metalist’s decision is set to provide another headache for UEFA, which is already facing a CAS appeal from Fenerbahce over this season’s Champions League. CAS last month registered an appeal from the Turkish giant against its ban from UEFA club competitions.

The Super Lig club’s action came after it had its appeal against the ban rejected by UEFA’s Appeals Body.

The Istanbul club were involved in a match-fixing scandals in domestic tournaments in 2011 and were excluded by the Turkish federation from participating in the Champions League in the 2011-12 season.

Fenerbahce have been barred from the next two competitions for which they would qualify, including the 2013-14 Champions League. However, they remain in this season’s competition while awaiting a CAS appeal of their own.

CAS has said it will make a final ruling on Fenerbahce’s case “by August 28” – the day after the second play-off leg against English Premier League club Arsenal.


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Thursday, August 15, 2013

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