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UEFA board turns down Ħamrun Spartans’ appeal to compete in 2021-22 Champions League

Hibs replace Spartans in Champions League, Mosta earn berth in Europa Conference League

UEFA have rejected the appeal lodged by Ħamrun Spartans against the European governing body’s decision of banning the newly-crowned Premier League champions from competing in this season’s Champions League.

The Spartans issued a statement after the UEFA ruling and said that they are seriously considering to file an appeal against the decision in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“The club has just received the decision by the UEFA Appeals Body at its meeting on June 7, 2021,” the club said in a statement.

“We regret to inform all our stakeholders and loyal supporters that the Appeals Body declared Ħamrun Spartans ineligible to participate in the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League competition.

“The club is seriously considering to appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), subject to Articles 62 and 63 of the UEFA Statutes.

“This decision is obviously very disappointing for our club because it impacts directly on our efforts to put Ħamrun Spatans FC on the epitome of Maltese football.

“We remain committed to continue with our winning strategy and ensure that we remain focused on our aim to be the best club on the island on and off the pitch.”

The Spartans, who last month were declared as the 2020-21 Premier League champions, were summoned virtually in front of  UEFA’s Appeals Body on Monday in a bid to earn the green light to compete in this season’s European football’s top competition.

In the last few years, the European governing body of football analysed thoroughly applications from clubs who had returned to UEFA clubs competitions following their involvement in a match-fixing case.

Last week, a prosecutor from UEFA’s Ethics and Disciplinary Body compiled a report on the Spartans’ case that dates back to season 2012-13 season when the club was found guilty of match-fixing and two members of the club committee were handed a life ban.

On Monday, lawyers representing the Spartans went in front of the UEFA Appeals Board to challenge the report from the UEFA prosecutor who made his arguments on why the Spartans should not be allowed to compete.

After two days of deliberation, the UEFA Appeals Board informed the Spartans that their appeal had been turned down and that they cannot compete in this season’s top UEFA competition.

Following this ruling, Hibernians will now represent Malta in the Champions League with Gżira United and Birkirkara joined by Mosta FC in the UEFA Conference League. For the Blues, this will be their first participation in UEFA club competition.

Sources close to the club told the Times of Malta that the Spartans committee will now discuss the issue internally and decide a way forward.

Should the club opt to go in front of the Court of Arbitration of Sport in a bid to overturn UEFA’s decision, such hearing would have to be heard this week, prior to the draws of the opening rounds of the competition scheduled for June 15.

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