Three clubs have been handed European bans by UEFA, booting them from their places in either the Champions League or the Europa League this coming season.
Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade was barred from the Champions League thanks to increasing debts that have not been paid on time.
With Financial Fair Play instituted recently, UEFA is cracking down on not just club spending but also healthy financial practices, and with the club in violation of that, the punishment was given.
According to UEFA, the official designation of the violation was “the existence of overdue payables as a result of a complaint.” So obviously a debtor provided enough proof to the governing body to show the club was well past its dues.
It’s a big blow to the Serbian giants, who won the European Cup in 1991 but haven’t featured in Champions League play in seven years thanks to city rivals Partizan Belgrade dominating the Serbian league during that time. Only the top spot in Serbia’s SuperLiga earns a berth into the Champions League.
With Partizan finishing second, they would earn Red Star’s spot if the decision holds up. Red Star has 10 days to file an appeal.
In addition, a pair of Turkish clubs Sivasspor and Eskisehirspor were thrown from the Europa League for a year due to the uncovering of a domestic match-fixing scandal.
The matches in question were easy targets, coming against eventual champions Fenerbahce late in the 2010 season.
Sivasspor qualified for the Europa League’s third qualifying round via their fifth-place finish, while Eskisehirspor finished second in the domestic cup to earn them a spot in the second qualifying round.
With reigning Super Lig champions Fenerbahce serving a two-year Champions League ban, runners-up Galatasaray and third-place Besiktas are into next year’s Champions League, and the pair of Bursaspor and Karabukspor will take the vacant Europa League spots.