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Apr 10, 2013

UEFA to probe Malaga charges of racism

UEFA's disciplinary inspectors are studying remarks made by Malaga president Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani claiming his side were controversially knocked out of the Champions League due to "corrupt UEFA and based on racism."

The Spanish team appeared to have sealed their place in the semifinals as they led Borussia Dortmund 2-1 with seconds remaining at the Westfalenstadion, but two goals in stoppage time saw the Germans secure a 3-2 win to go through.

Malaga, playing in the competition for the first time, were fuming with some of the decisions made by Scottish referee Craig Thomson and his team, and announced Wednesday they would be making a formal complaint to UEFA about the officiating.

The La Liga team was particularly upset with Felipe Santana's 93rd-minute winner, which he scored from an offside position.

Al Thani, meanwhile, launched a furious Twitter outburst immediately after the match, claiming his club had been the victims of "racism."

"Yes, we were targeted from the beginning of the season by corrupt UEFA and based on racism," he wrote on his personal account, @ANAALThani.

In December, Malaga accused UEFA of unfair and unjust treatment after they were handed a one-season ban from European competition -- to be imposed if the club qualify for the Champions League or Europa League during any of the next four seasons -- due to outstanding debts.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino this afternoon said the comments would now be looked at by the governing body.

"It will now be analyzed by our disciplinary inspectors, they will act if they have to act depending on what has been said," he said.

"I can understand when you lose a match in the 93rd minute the emotions come up and maybe you say things that you don't really think and you really don't want to say."

Al Thani, who also posted pictures on Twitter of the offside decisions that had gone against his side as Dortmund scored its match-winning goal, was not the only person bitterly upset by Malaga's defeat.

Veteran winger Joaquin Sanchez, whose 25th-minute strike from the edge of the area had put Malaga ahead, also hit out at UEFA and their president Michel Platini, telling Spanish radio station Cadena SER: "We suspect Platini and all of them there. Because we are Malaga and not Real Madrid, it's easier to do this with us.

"We're very hurt because we didn't deserve to go out in this way. We saw the footage of the goals after the game. Something like this shouldn't happen at this stage of the game, but of course, we are Malaga..."

Coach Manuel Pellegrini said after seeing his team's fairytale Champions League debut campaign end: "There was no refereeing in the last seven minutes.

"Our players were being elbowed and pushed all over the place. Two of their players should have been given a red card and there was a double offside for their third goal.

"It was extremely difficult to regain possession under these conditions. We're all extremely bitter at the outcome."

The Andalusian club say they will now be making a formal complaint about Thomson's performance.

Malaga director general Vicente Casado told reporters at Munster airport ahead of their return to Spain:

"From the point of view of the club we are angry about another injustice against the club, first in the offices and now on the pitch.

"The club are going to present an official complaint to UEFA about the refereeing.

"We regret that the level of refereeing is not at the level that the quarterfinals, the players, the fans -- both Dortmund and Malaga -- deserves.

"Our complaint is not going to be against UEFA, it's going to be against the level of refereeing that we expect, which has not been at the right level.

"If they demand a level of organization from the clubs and to give a spectacle on the pitch then we ask that the others things, like the refereeing, is of the same level."

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