Football: Dynamo Kiev contest ban

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The Independent Online
Aalborg were thrust on to the European stage yesterday in the aftermath of the "fur coats" bribe scandal involving Dynamo Kiev. Uefa, football's European governing body, announced the Danish champions would replace Dynamo in this season's Champions' League, assuming a ban on the Ukrainian champions is confirmed.

Uefa's control and disciplinary committee barred Dynamo from European competition on Wednesday for three seasons for allegedly attempting to bribe the referee, Antonio Lopez Nieto, before their Group A home match with Panathinaikos of Greece last week.

However, Dynamo have strongly contested the referee's interpretation of events and the Uefa board of appeal is to hear a request by Dynamo to have the ban overturned on Sunday. Dynamo claimed yesterday that Lopez Nieto had deliberately duped European officials with allegations that club officials tried to bribe him. The club accused the Spanish referee of first ordering, then refusing to pay for several fur coats and hats purchased before the match.

Lopez Nieto had told Uefa officials, meeting in Porto, Portugal, that he was approached by Vasyl Babychuk, vice-president and general manager of Dynamo, and Igor Surkis, a board member, before the match. Both men were summarily banned for life from Uefa-related activities.

But in a statement Dynamo said Lopez Nieto asked the club to acquire fur coats and hats for the four Uefa officials. Dynamo said that when Lopez Nieto was told how much the coats and hats for the four officials had cost, he handed them back. "It turned out that Mr Nieto portrayed the bill from the shop to the Uefa representative as an attempted bribe," the statement said.

It said Uefa had been faced with a choice: "Either punish the referee or the host team. The Spanish official appeared to be closer to their hearts."

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