Matchfixing: Skenderbeu lose first round of CAS appeal to have European ban stayed

By Paul Nicholson

June 15 – Albanian club KS Skenderbeu has failed in its bid at CAS to have its ban from European competition stayed. The club is appealing a 10-year European ban and €1 million fine imposed by UEFA for matchfixing.

The club will now have to wait for the full Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) appeals process to complete before it will know if it can re-enter UEFA club competitions.

The Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body of UEFA on March 29 found KS Skënderbeu guilty of fixing more than 50 matches and issued a 10-year ban and fine. Skenderbeu first appealed the decision to UEFA’s own Appeals Body and lost, before going to CAS, also asking for the ban to be postponed while the full CAS appeal was on-going.

The CAS decision means Skenderbeu will miss the deadline for entry to European competition next season.

CAS said that “the arbitration procedure is on-going with the exchange of written submissions. A hearing date has not been fixed yet.

Skenderbeu president Ardjan Takaj has said that if their appeal at CAS fails, they will take the case to the Swiss federal court.

The Skenderbeu case has become a landmark decision in the battle against match-fixing as the ban is predominantly based on information from its betting fraud detection system (BFDS) which identified 53 matches involving Skenderbeu – including in European club competitions – which allegedly manipulated for betting gain between November 2010 and April 2016.

At appeal CAS accepted the BFDS system as reliable evidence of matches having been fixed. In particular the case focused on four games: two from the 2015-16 Champions League qualifying rounds and two from that season’s Europa League group phase. UEFA, after the first ban on Skenderbeu, issued a report adding fresh evidence from a panel of coaches as well as using an external company to reconfirm its findings.

The report spoke of “manipulation attempts to obtain criminal betting profits on a stunning global scale” and the club having “no respect for the integrity of the game”.

Skenderbeu have repeatedly denied the allegations saying there is no evidence of organised crime and that they will contest all accusations.

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