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May 9, 2013

Del Nido suggests Malaga deserve ban

Sevilla president Jose Maria Del Nido has claimed he is sad to see Malaga banned from European competition next season but also suggested the Qatari-owned club deserve to be punished having broken UEFA's financial regulations.

Del Nido's own side, whose financial issues include debts of over €100 million, could benefit from the decision, given they are currently battling to secure the Europa League place opened up by Malaga's disqualification. The lawyer told Estadio Deportivo that it pained him to see his neighbours punished, but rules were rules.

"I do not really know why they have punished Malaga, or to what point they could be affected by their debts to the taxman," Del Nido said. "I am never going to be happy to see another Andalucian club punished.

"If Malaga achieve a European qualification place on the pitch, they should be able to take it up next season. But I would also say the financial rules of UEFA and FIFA must be followed to the letter, because nor is it normal that those who do fulfil them lose out to those who do not."

Del Nido's comments raised more than a few eyebrows in Spain. UEFA's decision to ban Malaga is thought to be at least in part due to owner Abdullah Al-Thani's inability or unwillingness to pay player wages in full and on time, something Sevilla have also struggled to do in recent seasons.

In February, Del Nido himself admitted his heavily indebted club still owed a total of €3.25 million in back wages to 11 different players from the 2011-12 campaign.

Bosnian defender Emir Spahic was subsequently sold outside the European transfer window to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, and Del Nido has warned since that further players could leave this summer should his team not qualify for the Europa League at least.

With Copa del Rey finalists Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid assured of Champions League places, all three of La Liga's Europa League spots will be decided by the final Primera Division table. At present, Valencia, Malaga and Real Betis hold those positions, with Getafe, Sevilla - in ninth - and Rayo Vallecano also in the race.

Malaga have appealed the UEFA ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and claim to be confident they will receive a positive decision when the court rules on the case in June.

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