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Metalist Expelled From Champions League

posted 14 Aug 2013, 13:17 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 14 Aug 2013, 13:17 ]

UEFA expels Ukrainian club FC Metalist from the Champions League.

 KHARKIV, UKRAINE (AUGUST 14, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Metalist Kharkiv, due to play Schalke 04 in the Champions League playoff round next week, have been kicked out of the competition over a domestic match-fixing case dating back to 2008, UEFA said on Wednesday (August 14).

The decision by UEFA's appeals committee came 10 days after Metalist lost an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Last year's Ukrainian league runners-up will be replaced by Greek side PAOK, the team they beat in the third qualifying round.

Metalist said they would appeal to the CAS.

The team's fans think it was unfair to exclude the team for something that happened a while ago.

"These are deeds of the bygone days, but they are expelling the current team. This is at least unfair to leave the team that has just gained its pace, the team that has been striving for that for so many years, without the UEFA. There's some feeling of disappointment," Kharkiv resident Dmytro Bondar said at a friendly match.

Metalist's replacement PAOK will visit Schalke on August 21 with the return on August 27 for a place in the group stage. The UEFA's emergency panel decided to include the Greek side rather than hand Schalke a bye.

The panel also decided that PAOK would not be replaced in the Europa Leaguequalifying round and their opponents Maccabi Tel Aviv would go straight into the group stage.

Metalist were not the only club whose Champions League participation was shrouded in uncertainty.

CAS has already allowed Fenerbahce back into the competition while it considers an appeal from the Turkish club against their two-year ban from European competition over a domestic match-fixing case.

Metalist fan Maksim Afonin thinks that if the management can motivate the team, then the UEFA decision will have little effect.

"If the team is professional and its leaders will motivate the team enough, then I think this will have no effect on the team. They will be angry but will continue to play. If the leaders won't be able to find approach and motivate the players for the Ukrainian championship, then a negative," Afonin said.

Earlier this month, CAS upheld a Ukraine Football Federation (FFU) decision to fine Metalist Kharkiv and FC Karpaty $25,000 each over the manipulation of a match played in April 2008.

The tribunal also confirmed bans of between three and five years on six Metalist players, plus fines of $10,000 each.

Metalist director Yevhen Krasnikov was banned from any soccer-related activity for five years.

Two Karpaty officials were given suspended bans and ordered to pay "compulsory cash contributions" to the FFU while CAS upheld an appeal by a third official from the club.

CAS said in its ruling that the two clubs "were held liable for the behaviour of their football players or officials under the principle of strict liability."