Spanish club Osasuna was removed from the Europa Conference League on Wednesday by UEFA because club officials were implicated in fixing matches a decade ago.
Osasuna said in a statement it will appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
By finishing seventh in La Liga last season, Osasuna earned a place in the playoff round of the third-tier European club competition, needing to beat one opponent in August to advance to the group stage.
UEFA’s verdict lifts eighth-place Athletic Bilbao into the competition instead. A CAS ruling likely will be needed ahead of Athletic’s scheduled first-leg game on August 24.
Osasuna officials, who are no longer with the club, were implicated in fixing matches between 2012 and 2014.
However, UEFA’s competition rules state that teams implicated in fixing any game played since April 2007 can be removed from the next competition for which they qualify. Osasuna had not qualified for a UEFA competition since the 2006-07 season. Further disciplinary measures can follow.
The lineup for the Europa Conference League playoff round faces further uncertainty because of pending rulings by UEFA judicial bodies.
Juventus is under investigation by UEFA’s club finance monitoring panel over false accounting allegations that already resulted in a 10-point deduction in Serie A.
That domestic punishment dropped Juventus out of the Champions League qualification places into the Europa Conference League, costing the club tens of millions of euros (dollars).
Aston Villa is under UEFA scrutiny over integrity rules relating to multi-club ownership. Villa’s American owners have a stake in Portuguese club Vitoria, which also qualified for the Europa Conference League.
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