UEFA has confirmed that PAOK Salonika will replace Metalist Kharkiv in the Champions League play-off round after the Ukrainian club were banned from European competition for the 2013-14 season for match-fixing.
Metalist had been drawn against German side Schalke in the play-offs, set to take place over the next fortnight, but were disqualified for their involvement in match-fixing by the UEFA Appeals Body on Wednesday.
The UEFA Emergency Panel met later on Wednesday to discuss the situation, before deciding that PAOK will take the Ukrainian side’s place, having been eliminated by them in the third qualifying round of the competition.
UEFA says the decision is final, but Metalist were given the opportunity to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport -- which they have accepted.
"We will file an appeal in Lausanne. I think that we will file it today. It's already complete, because, in fact, we envisaged all possible options," Metalist vice-president Kostiantyn Pyvoarov told Interfax Ukraine. "It won't take much time for us to file it at the court in Lausanne."
PAOK were set to play Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Europa League play-offs, however, the Israeli club have now qualified directly for the group stage as a result of UEFA’s decision.
Earlier this month UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Metalist for a case of match fixing that dates back to April 19, 2008, when Metalist beat Karpaty Lviv 4-0, a case in which Metalist’s sporting director Evgeni Krasnikov was alleged to be involved.
The governing body handed Fenerbahce a two-year ban from European competition in June over a domestic match-fixing case, though they were re-admitted pending an appeal to CAS.