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Bulgaria’s CSKA-Sofia loses at CAS but remains in Europa League, for now

June 18 – The on-going confusion and controversy around Bulgaria CSKA-Sofia shows little sign of ending as the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) rejected an urgent request to suspend UEFA from, potentially, ruling the club cannot compete in the upcoming Europa Cup.

CSKA-Sofia has become a bit like the woodcutters axe – two new heads and four new shafts, is it the same axe?

The club was declared bankrupt after mul;tiple attempts to list shares and find new owners, ut was not awarded a professional licence and forced to play in Bulgaria’s amateur leagues where it reconstituted itself under a new owner and won the Bulgarian Cup, qualifying for the Europa League last season.

Under its new guise it was awarded a professional license and allowed back into the top league, finishing sixth last season. In the meantime the new owner acquired the rights and history of the old CSK Sofia.

CSKA-Sofia had applicatied for an exception to UEFA’s ‘three-year rule’, that a licence applicant must be a registered member of a UEFA member association for at least three consecutive years. UEFA had indicated that CSKA-Sofia would not be able to apply for a UEFA licence for the UEFA club competitions in connection with seasons 2017/18 and 2018/19.

CSKA-Sofia asked CAS that they stayed this ruling, but CAS ruled against this because UEFA had so far not decided to overturn the decision made by the Bulgarian Football Union to grant a licence to CSKA-Sofia to participate in the UEFA Europa League 2017/2018. Hence the club “remains eligible to participate in the UEFA Europa League 2017/2018 and does not currently suffer any risk of irreparable harm.”

However, UEFA is still within its rights to rule CSKA-Sofia ineligible.

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