Osasuna to appeal UEFA ban from Conference League for matchfixing

July 5 – Osasuna have been thrown out of European football’s third-tier Conference League next season due to a match-fixing scandal from a decade ago.

The LaLiga club said they have been excluded by UEFA and that they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

By finishing seventh in La Liga last season, Osasuna earned a place in the playoff round of the Conference League, needing to beat one opponent in August to advance to the group stage.  But UEFA’s ruling lifts eighth-placed Athletic Bilbao into the competition instead.

A CAS ruling likely will be needed ahead of Bilbao’s scheduled first-leg game on August 24.

Osasuna officials who are no longer with the club were implicated in fixing matches between 2012 and 2014. However, UEFA’s competition rules state that teams implicated in fixing any game played since April 2007 can be removed from the next competition for which they qualify.

Osasuna had not managed to qualify for any European competition since the 2006-07 season, when it reached the semi-finals of the old UEFA Cup.

The club from Pamplona could have expected to earn at least €6 million in prize money had the team advanced to the group stage.

Osasuna say they have been unfairly treated by UEFA since the club’s current hierarchy had denounced the previous corruption. A trial in early 2020 resulted in the conviction of several of the club’s former directors, a decision that was welcomed by the administration that succeeded them.

In a statement Osasuna said: “Club Atlético Osasuna does not share at all UEFA’s criteria nor the investigation of the case carried out and regrets the wrong message that UEFA sends to the football world by punishing those who denounce corruption and pursue it judicially.”

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