Ukrainian club Metalist Kharkiv disqualified from Champions League over match fixing

The club were due to play Schalke in the play-off stage of the tournament

Ukrainian club Metalist Kharkiv are to appeal against their expulsion from European competition.

European governing body UEFA has banned Metalist, who were due to play German side Schalke in a Champions League play-off next week, from its competitions in 2013-14 following a match-fixing inquiry.

But an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport could see Metalist, who were competing in the Champions League for the first time, temporarily reinstated because CAS has the power to suspend sanctions.

In the meantime UEFA has announced that Greek club PAOK Thessaloniki will take Metalist's place in the Champions League play-offs and face Schalke in a two-legged tie that begins next Wednesday.

UEFA charged Metalist last week after CAS upheld a five-year ban imposed on the club's sporting director Yevhen Krasnikov by the Ukrainian Football Federation.

Krasnikov was allegedly involved in the fixing of a Ukrainian league match with Karpaty Lwiw in 2008.

Metalist have made clear their anger at the punishment.

Vice-president Kostyantyn Pyvovarov, in a statement on the club's website http://www.metalist.ua, 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.

"Also, we have appealed to the Supreme Court of Switzerland with the application for suspension of CAS decision.

"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, 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 were charged under articles 2.04g, 2.05 and 2.10 of the Champions League regulations for the coming season, which concern admission criteria for UEFA competitions.

The matter was considered by UEFA's appeals body at a hearing in Nyon, Switzerland, after receiving statements from the club.

A UEFA statement read: "The UEFA appeals body carefully analysed the statements and documents submitted by the club, as well as the statements and documents submitted by the UEFA disciplinary inspector and reached the following decision:

"FC Metalist Kharkiv are disqualified from the 2013-14 UEFA competitions."

A further statement was issued later confirming that PAOK, who were beaten by Metalist in the third qualifying round, would go forward to the play-off.

It read: "The UEFA emergency panel, which is composed of five members of the UEFA executive committee, decided to replace Metalist with PAOK FC for the remainder of the 2013-14 club competitions.

"As a consequence the Greek club, eliminated by Metalist in the third qualifying round, will now face FC Schalke 04 in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, with the first leg to be played on August 21 in Germany.

"This decision is final. Metalist have the opportunity to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"PAOK will not be replaced in the UEFA Europa League play-offs and their opponents, Maccabi Tel Aviv FC, thus qualify directly for the group stage."

PA

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