July 19 – European governing body UEFA has removed Belgian club KV Mechelen from the upcoming group stages of the Europa League as a result of its involvement in match-fixing last year.
UEFA had first allowed Mechelen’s entry in its second-tier club competition. But following the decision of the Belgian Court of Arbitration for Sport (BAS), that upheld the ruling of the disciplinary bodies of the Belgian FA banning Mechelen “from playing in the European Cup for one season if the club were to qualify”, UEFA’s appeals body reversed its earlier decision.
The Belgian FA had ruled that Mechelen had fixed a topflight game on the last day of the 2017-18 season.
UEFA’s decision will not affect Belgium’s presence in the Europa League. Belgium’s Pro League had feared that UEFA might allocate Mechelen’s spot to another country, but Standard Liege will now enter the competition directly instead of Mechelen. Royal Antwerp advance a round in qualifying and Gent will face Viitorul Constanta of Romania in the second qualifying round. They had not qualified for the competition.
Last season Genk and Club Brugge progressed from the group stages of the competition to represent Belgium in the knock-out phase, but both clubs were eliminated in the round of 32.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1571790037labto1571790037ofdlr1571790037owedi1571790037sni@o1571790037fni1571790037