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Ħamrun Spartans take case over Champions League exclusion to CAS

Ħamrun Spartans have taken their case against their exclusion from the UEFA Champions League to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Times of Malta can confirm.

The Spartans have been banned from this season’s UEFA Champions League qualifiers after the European governing body’s appeal board have rejected their complaint against their exclusion from this season’s competition following their involvement in a match-fixing case in 2013.

UEFA, as a norm, hands a one-year exclusion from its competitions to clubs who had been involved in match-fixing the first time they qualify for continental competitions since their case.

Upon receiving UEFA’s decision that ruled them out of this year’s competition, Ħamrun Spartans chief executive officer Marcel Bonnici had stated that the club were pondering to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to try and overturn UEFA’s decision.

The Spartans are understood to have spoken with their legal team and a decision was made to fight their cause infront of the independent institution, that is based in Lausanne that resolves legal disputes in the field of sport.

At present, Ħamrun Spartans’ place in this season’s UEFA Champions League qualifiers has been taken by Hibernians, who had finished as runners-up in the Premier League last season.

The Paolites were drawn to face Estonia’s champions Flora Tallinn in the first qualfiying round.

However, their participation will now be subject to what the CAS will decide as should the Spartans win their case they will replace Hibernians in UEFA’s elite competition, with the Paolites dropping to the Europa League.

On Friday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who was one of the officials that drafted the regulations that UEFA used to penalise the Spartans, said that he was unsure whether those rules were designed for this kind of situation.

“I am not entering into UEFA decisions, that’s up to UEFA to decide, I suspect the UEFA board have taken their decision and had their reasons, and there is a case pending in CAS. It’s obviously not an easy situation because the case is from 2013 so seven or eight years ago and I don’t know if the rules at that time were designed for this kind of situation.

“I happened  to be there and I was participating and was drafting these particular rules, as obviously, we are all against match-fixing, but when everything has changed like happened at Ħarmun Spartans maybe it should be looked in a different way but now it’s up to UEFA bodies and ultimately CAS.”

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