The Malta Independent 18 October 2021, Monday

Hamrun Spartans to be excluded from Champions League by UEFA over past match fixing case

Wednesday, 9 June 2021, 12:43 Last update: about 5 months ago

Maltese champions Hamrun Spartans are set to be excluded from the UEFA Champions League by Europe’s footballing body over a match fixing case dating back to 2013.

UEFA decided on Wednesday that Hamrun, who were declared Maltese champions of last season’s shortened campaign, had never served its European suspension, even if the match fixing case itself dates back to 8 years ago.

The case in question is from the 2012/13 season, and two committee members of the club ended up being banned from football for life after admitting to match fixing charges.

Every year, a club must apply for a licence from UEFA in order to participate in continental competitions. One is granted a licence on a number of criteria, including, for instance, financial stability, but Europe’s footballing governing body has in recent years also given particular attention to those clubs returning to European competition after being involved in match fixing cases.

The club said in a statement that it is "seriously considering" to appeal the sentence before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) subject to Articles 62 and 63 of UEFA's statutes.

If they do lodge an appeal, the verdict would have to be reached in the coming days, before next week’s Champions League draw.

"The decision is obviously very disappointing for our Club because it impacts directly on our efforts to put Hamrun Spartans FC on the epitome of Maltese football", the club said, adding that it remains committed to continuing with its winning strategy as it continues to aim to be the best club on the island, both on and off the pitch.

If UEFA’s decision is confirmed, league runners up Hibernians will take Hamrun’s place in the Champions League.

Mosta FC – who finished in sixth place – will enter the Conference League along with Birkirkara FC and Gzira United, after fifth-placed Sliema Wanderers – who had their own fair share of trouble during the past season – withdrew their application for a UEFA licence.

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