CAS hears Champions League match-fixing appeals
Debrecen players Vukasin Poleksic and Norbert Meszaros gave evidence at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday to challenge their bans for being linked to match-fixing in the Champions League.
Their case was the first prosecuted by UEFA for alleged corruption in the group stage of its marquee club competition, which has television and sponsorship deals totaling ?1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) annually.
UEFA banned Poleksic for two years and Meszaros for 18 months for failing to report approaches from fixers ahead of a home match against Fiorentina in October 2009. The Hungarian club lost 4-3 after conceding four first-half goals.
UEFA accept that the players did not manipulate the match but its integrity rules require them to report corruption attempts.
CAS is expected to give verdicts within several weeks.
UEFA sanctioned the players last June and dismissed their appeals in September.
Poleksic said at his appeal that he rejected the bribe attempt. Meszaros stated he had no contact with people attempting to influence the match.
The 28-year-old Poleksic, a Montenegro international goalkeeper, was suspended until June 2012 and fined ?10,000 ($13,800).
Meszaros, a 30-year-old defender, was banned until December 2011 and fined ?7,000 ($9,700).
If CAS dismisses their appeals, FIFA is expected to extend the players' ban worldwide.
The case has overshadowed Debrecen's first and only Champions League group stage campaign, which earned the club almost ?9 million ($12.4 million) in prize money from UEFA. The team lost all six matches, playing against Fiorentina, Liverpool and Lyon.