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Jun 11, 2013

Malaga European ban upheld

Malaga will not play in Europe next season after the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] turned down the Primera Division club's appeal of its UEFA ban. Last December UEFA's Club Financial Control Body [CFCB] issued Malaga with a two-season ban [one year suspended] from all European competition "due to the presence of significant overdue payable balances". After the club's accounts were found to be in better order, the suspended year was lifted in May, however the initial one year punishment remained in force. The CAS decision now means that Malaga - who finished sixth in the 2012-13 Primera Division table under incoming Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini - may not take up the place they say they have earned in next season's Europa League. The Qatari-owned club released a statement on Tuesday communicating the club's dismay at a ruling they still maintain is unfair. "Malaga Club de Futbol cannot compete in the Europa League next season, despite having achieved qualification on the pitch, after having been informed today of the ruling by CAS, who confirmed the punishment imposed by UEFA," the statement said. "The Martiricos club, who are to receive the final argument of the denial of their appeal by CAS, maintains its posture of having fulfilled all the parameters asked for under 'Fair Play'. Proof of that is that it cannot participate in European competition next season, despite having achieved a 2013-14 UEFA licence." The club statement went on to say that the judgement was "without precedent in the football world's judicial-sporting realm" but that all legal avenues had now been exhausted and they would have to live with the decision. Boquerones director general Vicente Casado told reporters: "Our immediate reaction is one of indignation and a real sense of injustice. We've been fighting our corner with the team and the whole city behind us, and we failed. We literally feel driven out of the competition. "The club has been working tirelessly for a year in order to comply with Fair Play regulations, which was proven by the granting of a UEFA licence. We haven't had the full explanation as yet, but we don't understand the basic reasoning behind the decision." Casado added: "This decision is a real blow to the club, but our overall project does not depend on the Europa League. The owners are more committed than ever and we'll continue to be as successful as we can next season." Casado has maintained throughout that his club has been singled out by UEFA, had been putting their financial affairs in order, and were confident that CAS would rule in their favour. Recent irate tweets from owner Abdullah Al-Thani have been, at least in part, due to frustration at what is seen as official bias against his side. As it now stands Sevilla, who finished ninth in the 2012-13 Primera Division table, are set to take up Spain's third Europa League spot. Rayo Vallecano, who finished eighth, were denied a UEFA licence by the Spanish league authorities as it has not yet agreed a timeframe to pay creditors under Spain's Ley Concursal, but Rayo club figures have confirmed that they will appeal to the CAS themselves to try and overturn that decision. Recently elected LFP president Javier Tebas is reportedly involved in handling the Vallecas side's administration process.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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