UEFA opens case on Metalist Kharkiv

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Metalist Kharkiv over alleged match-fixing which threatens the Ukrainian club’s participation in this season’s UEFA Champions League.

UEFA’s announcement comes a matter of days after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed an appeal against a five-year ban from the club’s sporting director Yevhen Krasnikov. CAS upheld an Ukraine Football Federation ruling that Krasnikov had helped to fix a league match against Karpaty Lviv in April 2008.

Club president Sergii Kurchenko suggested last Friday it could appeal the CAS ruling to Switzerland’s supreme court, which can overturn judgments if legal process was abused.

”I think that this decision will not have significant consequences for Metalist in the future,” said Kurchenko, who became club president in December.

If UEFA’s appeal panel rules against Metalist in the latest case, that judgment can also be challenged at CAS – even as the Ukrainian league runner-up pursues its debut Champions League campaign.

UEFA’s rules allow the governing body to deem a team ineligible for competition if they are found to have been involved directly or indirectly in "any activity aimed at arranging or influencing the outcome of a match at national or international level", since April 2007, when the UEFA statutes were changed.

Metalist’s case will be heard in Nyon on Tuesday in order to ensure any verdict does not disrupt the upcoming Champions League play-off round. Metalist are on course to be involved at that stage of the tournament as they hold a 2-0 lead over Greek side PAOK Thessaloniki after the first leg of their third qualifying round.

UEFA’s statement read: "Proceedings have been opened against Metalist under articles 2.04g, 2.05 and 2.10 of the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League regulations, regarding the admission criteria for participation in UEFA competitions.

"Due to the urgency of the case and in accordance with article 23.3 of the UEFA disciplinary regulations, the case has been referred directly to the UEFA appeals body. The case will be heard on Tuesday 13 August at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland."

The Associated Press was used in this report.