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CAS rejects Asian club football champs' request to suspend competition ban

All Headlines 19:18 February 03, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Yonhap) -- The world's top sports tribunal on Friday rejected South Korean football club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' appeal to suspend a ban from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) released a statement saying it denied the reigning AFC Champions League (ACL) champions' request to stay the execution taken by the AFC Entry Control Body (ECB).

The ECB, a judicial body independent of the AFC, on Jan. 18 barred Jeonbuk from the 2017 ACL for their "indirect involvement in activities aimed at arranging or influencing the outcome of matches."

Last September, one of Jeonbuk's scouts was convicted of bribing referees in 2013. They were docked nine points by the K League's disciplinary committee -- which cost them a chance to win their third straight domestic league title -- and were fined 100 million won (US$85,680).

Jeonbuk went on to win the ACL in November by beating Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates. Jeonbuk also secured their spot in the 2017 ACL by finishing second in the K League Classic.

The two-time ACL champions previously asked for provisional measures from the CAS so that they can enter the club competition before Ulsan Hyundai FC -- a fellow South Korean club that entered the ACL following Jeonbuk's disqualification -- play their first match at the ACL.

But following the CAS decision, Ulsan, fourth in the domestic league last year, will face Kitchee of Hong Kong on Tuesday in an ACL playoff match as scheduled. Ulsan can join Group E if they win the match.

The decision also means Jeju United, which earned an ACL playoff spot after finishing third in the K League Classic, will take Jeonbuk's place in Group H.

The AFC said it accepts the decision, saying, "It is the utmost priority for the AFC to protect the integrity and image of its competitions."

kdon@yna.co.kr
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