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Osasuna barred from UEFA Conference League

Osasuna barred from UEFA Conference League over historic match-fixing scandal

July 4 (Reuters) – Osasuna will not play in Europe’s third-tier Conference League next season after the LaLiga club said on Tuesday that they have been excluded from the competition by continental soccer body UEFA due to a match-fixing scandal from a decade ago.

Osasuna qualified for the Conference League playoff round after finishing seventh in LaLiga last term.

However, the club was embroiled in a match-fixing scandal in the 2013-14 season. 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.

Under UEFA rules any team implicated in match-fixing since April 2007 can be excluded from the next European competition they qualify for. Osasuna have not qualified for a UEFA competition since the 2006-07 season.

Osasuna plan to appeal the UEFA ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The UEFA decision means LaLiga’s eight-placed side Athletic Bilbao are set to go into the playoff round instead. The first leg is scheduled for Aug. 24.

“Osasuna does not share at all the criteria of UEFA or the investigation of the case carried out and regrets the wrong message that UEFA sends to the world of football (by) punishing those who denounce corruption and prosecute it in court,” the club said in a statement.

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“The members of the UEFA Appeals Committee have not taken into account the allegations presented by the club last Friday and have reaffirmed the initial opinion of the inspectors of the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Committee.”

Osasuna added that they will continue to explore all legal options to be able to play in Europe next season.

The Conference League qualifying rounds for the 2023-24 season start next week.

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