UEFA not obliged to exclude Metalist from Champions League after Lausanne court ruling, club's representative in court says
UEFA has no obligation to exclude FC Metalist Kharkiv from the UEFA Champions League of the 2013/2014 season after the ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, the club's representative in court, Head of Sports Law at the Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev and Partners Law Firm Markiyan Kliuchkovsky has said.
"Such precedents occurred. We can take the cases of Turkish clubs Fenerbahce and Besiktas. But the situation there was completely different. The issue concerned large-scale corruption scandals, because of which almost a dozen people were imprisoned, and during the case UEFA urged the Turkish Football Federation to clear itself and all these people of corruption. We are talking about a situation in which the law enforcement agencies in Ukraine declared that the match was not fixed, and this is confirmed by a court ruling. We are talking about an investigation conducted by the FFU, which was very doubtful in quality. Therefore, we cannot draw a parallel here. And such a decision by UEFA is in any case not taken automatically. There is a separate procedure for this that will take a certain amount of time and that can end up in different ways, because there is a precedent of Romania's Steaua, which was allowed by UEFA to participate in European competitions. Moreover, I find it hard to imagine that it will concern this season, which has already begun. Theoretically, we can talk about next season," he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine on Monday.
The lawyer said that he and the club were expecting another ruling from the Lausanne court.
"Our expectations were based on the materials of the case, on the evidence that was filed by the parties during the process, and, on the basis of which, in our opinion, there was no reason to believe that Metalist or the club's officials participated in the organization of match-fixing. And we did not find any evidence in this ruling, and it, in our opinion, is not compelling," Kliuchkovsky said.
As reported, on August 2, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne decided to deprive Metalist of bronze medals for the 2007/2008 season. However, Metalist and Karpaty were not deprived of nine points in the 2011/2012 season, therefore the standings in the Ukrainian Premier League remain unchanged.
It became known on August 5 that UEFA would study the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne in the case of a fixed match played between Metalist and Karpaty in 2008 and consider the possibility of admitting the Kharkiv club to participation in the Champions League in the 2013/2014 season.
"UEFA has taken note of the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the case on the fixed match in the Ukrainian championship between Metalist and Karpaty, which was played on April 19, 2008. Consequently, UEFA's disciplinary bodies will consider the admission of the Kharkiv club to the Champions League of the 2013/2014 season, relying on Articles 2.04. g) and 2.05 of the competition regulations," UEFA said in response to the request from the UA-Football Web site.
First Vice-President of FC Metalist Kharkiv Kostiantyn Pyvovarov said he hoped that UEFA will not exclude the club from European competitions following the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, which found a match played between Metalist and Karpaty in 2008 to have been fixed.
"I cannot comment on UEFA's reaction. We can only hope that our club will not be excluded from European competitions. We have already started playing [in European competitions], so we hope that we'll continue playing anyway. We officially notify UEFA of the decision on Monday, because the procedure is that we have to inform them, and then they will have to decide what to do and how to react," he said in an interview with the Big Football program on the Ukraina TV Channel on Sunday.