Serbian league kick-off on hold after CAS ruling keeps Kolubara in top tier

July 24 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne has reduced the punishment of Serbian club FK Kolubara. In May, the Serbian Football Union deducted 9 points from Kolubara a round before the end of the championship, effectively relegating them from the first division.

Kolubara’s punishment came after investigation of a match-fixing alert from UEFA.

Kolubara appealed the decision to the CAS and it was reduced from 9 to 6 points, which means that the team will not be relegated and will keep their top tier status.

With that decision the start of the Serbian championship, originally set for July 21, was postponed with the format and fixtures of the league thrown into disarray. The draw for the new championship has not been made yet, as it is unclear how many teams will participate in the new championship.

The SFU leadership held an emergency meeting over the weekend with decisions on the format of the league expected to be announced today.

In a statement the Serbian Football Union said: “In its decision 2023/A/9715 of 21st July 2023, CAS confirmed the right of the FA of Serbia to protect the integrity of football and sanction all clubs involved in irregularities according to Article 83 of the Disciplinary Regulations. Simultaneously, they confirmed FK Kolubara was guilty of match fixing in the 2022/2023 season.

“With the above-mentioned decision under Article 83 of the FAS DR, CAS imposed a new sanction on FK Kolubara, slightly less severe than the sanction imposed by the FAS disciplinary bodies, i.e. 6 negative points. By the stated decision, CAS rejected FK Kolubara’s request for the costs of the proceedings to be reimbursed to them.

“Considering the new circumstances caused by the decision of CAS, FAS Executive Committee, together with the Union of the Super League and First League Clubs will make appropriate decisions in the interest of Serbian football as soon as possible.”

In his own statement, the president of Kolubara, Dragiša Urošević, said: “Kolubara will not leave the Superliga! Who am I to make the decision to withdraw a club that has existed for 104 years from the Super League. In that way, I would be against nearly 70,000 residents of the Lazareva municipality.

“Based on the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, we remain in the company of the best and we respect that decision.

“I ask the sports public and the media not to spread misinformation that KAS made a decision that Kolubara participated in dishonorable actions.

“The public will soon get to see the original decision and that only three points were returned to us because otherwise the FSS would be in jeopardy.”

Contact the writer of this story, Aleksander Krassimirov, at moc.l1716628637labto1716628637ofdlr1716628637owedi1716628637sni@o1716628637fni1716628637