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CSKA avoid Champions League disqualification

CSKA Moscow will not be disqualified from this season's Champions League despite two of their players failing drugs tests.

UEFA announced that Russian defenders Alexei Berezutsky and Sergei Ignashevich were suspended from all games after testing positive for random drugs tests carried out after CSKA's 3-3 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford on November 3.

CSKA were left in limbo over their Champions League future after their 2-1 win over Besiktas, coupled with United's superb victory at VfL Wolfsburg, secured second spot in the group.

Reports that the Russians could be expelled from the competition grew after reading of UEFA's disciplinary regulations, which state that when more than one player tests positive then action can be taken against the club, which can include expulsion from the competition.

However, a UEFA spokesman confirmed CSKA would not be disqualified. "In this case it is a specified substance so disqualification of the team does not apply, it is more the sanction of the players themselves," he said.

Any punishments, if deemed necessary, are therefore likely to be in the form of sanctions against the players. A disciplinary hearing will take place on December 17 to review the matter.

CSKA claimed an administrative error led to positive drug tests for two of their players, Alexei Berezutsky and Sergei Ignashevich.

"The problem is that during the doping control procedures a clerical error was made by employees within our medical staff,'' said a statement on CSKA's official website. "For the players and for the club this news was truly shocking.

"Unfortunately, we do not yet fully understand all the circumstances of the case, but we have nothing to hide, and we believe our fans should be made aware of that.

"This situation has arisen in connection with the treatment of our players from a severe cold during their time with the national team, and not in any way with doping, which is also known by the relevant bodies within UEFA."

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