Uefa overturn Porto suspension

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The Independent Online

Uefa's appeal body on Friday overturned the decision to exclude Porto from next season's Champions League.

The original decision was taken by Uefa's disciplinary committee, who will now get the chance to examine the case again after their initial ruling was dismissed after new evidence came to light.

A Uefa statement read: "The Uefa appeals body met today to hear the appeal filed by Porto against the decision taken by the Uefa control and disciplinary body on Wednesday 4 June, in which the Portuguese club were not admitted to the 2008/09 Uefa Champions League.

"The appeals body decided, in the light of new evidence submitted in relation to domestic Portuguese appeals procedures, to refer the matter back to the control and disciplinary body for reassessment."

The statement continued: "Having listened to representatives of Porto, the Portuguese Football Federation, Benfica and Vitoria, as well as UEFA, the appeals body decided to annul the challenged decision and to refer the matter back to the control and disciplinary body for reassessment.

"The control and disciplinary body will meet next week to take a decision on Porto's admission to the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League. The date of the meeting will be communicated in due course."

Porto confirmed the news on their official website, www.fcporto.pt.

A statement read: "The decision to exclude Porto from the 2008/09 edition of the UEFA Champions League has been overturned.

"In other words, the team is included in the most important club competition on the continent and we retain our record of participation.

"The jury decided that Vitoria and Benfica should have been involved in the process from the start.

"For this reason the case has been sent back to the UEFA disciplinary committee to be judged in accordance with these new conditions."

Porto were informed of UEFA's initial decision to exclude them on June 4 after European football's governing body acted upon a bribery scandal which overshadowed their recent SuperLiga conquest.

They were also hit with a six-point deduction for the scandal in which they were found guilty of trying to bribe referees during the 2003/04 campaign.

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