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May 22, 2013

Malaga hope for full UEFA reprieve

Malaga say that UEFA's decision to lift the second suspended year of its European ban makes them more confident the entire suspension will be thrown out by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) next month.

In December, UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) issued a two-season suspension, one season suspended, from all European competition "due to the presence of significant overdue payables balances". The governing body confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that, after a more recent analysis of the club's accounts on March 31, the further suspended year had been lifted.

Malaga have maintained throughout that they have been singled out by UEFA, insisting they have been successfully putting their financial affairs in order. Recent irate tweets from club owner Abdullah Al-Thani have been, at least in part, due to frustration at what he views as official bias against his side.

The Andalucian club reacted to UEFA's most recent decision with a statement that said they were now confident that CAS would force the entire suspension to be lifted, allowing the team to play in Europe next season.

Boquerones director general Vicente Casado claimed he was now even more optimistic that the appeal would be successful when the court issues its judgement on June 4.

"This decision ratifies what we had already said when our fulfilment of the regulations was put in doubt," Casado said. "We are working, and will keep working, on this, as we are very optimistic about the future."

Malaga's continuing battle means that La Liga's three Europa League qualifiers will not be confirmed when the season ends on June 1. With two games remaining, they sit sixth in the table, all but assured of a Europa League qualification spot.

European football could be key to keeping high earners such as Joaquin Sanchez and Martin Demichelis at the club, although coach - and Manchester City target - Manuel Pellegrini should leave either way, along with the likes of Isco and Jeremy Toulalan.

The situation is further complicated by the Spanish league authority's confirmation on Tuesday of its decision not to grant Rayo Vallecano a licence to compete in Europe, due to the Madrid club's continuing administration process under Spain's Ley Concursal. Rayo, currently eighth in the table, could now appeal to CAS themselves to try to force the issue. Recently elected LFP president Javier Tebas is reportedly involved in handling the Vallecas side's administration process.

The most recent UEFA decision also found that Romanian club Rapid Bucuresti and Ukrainian side Arsenal Kyiv had still not met the conditions set out by the CFCB, so their suspended bans were upheld. As well as Malaga, Croatian sides Hajduk Split and Osijek, Romanian club Dinamo Bucuresti and Serbian sides Partizan and Vojvodina were deemed to have fulfilled all conditions imposed, so their suspended sanctions will not apply.

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