Macedonian club, officials appeal match-fixing ban

BY foxsports • October 13, 2009

The Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear appeals by a Macedonian club president and former player to overturn their lifetime bans from football for fixing a Champions League match in a betting scam. CAS said Tuesday it also will examine UEFA's decision to ban the club, FK Pobeda, from European competitions for eight years. The court will hear the cases on Dec. 16. Rulings are expected early next year. UEFA ruled in April that Pobeda president Aleksandar Zabrcanec and then-team captain Nikolce Zdraveski ensured the team lost a qualifying round match against Armenian club Pyunik in July 2004. They deny match-fixing charges. Pobeda lost 3-1 in the first leg at home after going three goals down in the first half. Pobeda drew the second leg 1-1 in Armenia, losing 4-2 on aggregate. UEFA said when leveling the charges that Zabrcanec and Zdravevski were suspected of "manipulating the outcome ... to gain an undue advantage for themselves and a third party." UEFA based its case on reports from bookmakers of irregular betting patterns and took statements from several witnesses. The verdict was welcomed by UEFA president Michel Platini, who has described match-fixing and illegal betting as the greatest problem facing European football. Zabrcanec and Zdraveski were the first club officials in Europe to be found guilty of fixing a match. Greek club Egaleo was fined in 2006 for fielding a weakened team in the Intertoto Cup, a third-tier Europe-wide competition that has since disbanded. UEFA said in its ruling that Egaleo, which lost the first leg and was then eliminated, created "favorable conditions for illegal betting practices." Last month, UEFA said it was investigating 40 cases of suspected fixed matches played in the Champions League and UEFA Cup, now known as the Europa League, in recent seasons.

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