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Asian football champs Jeonbuk to appeal AFC ban

Seoul (AFP) – Disgraced Asian title-holders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports after being banned from this year’s AFC Champions League over a domestic match-fixing scandal, the club said Thursday.

“We have decided to appeal the case to the CAS to justify our participation,” Jeonbuk said in an emailed statement.

The Asian Football Confederation on Wednesday banned the defending champions from this year’s competition due to its “indirect involvement in activities” to manipulate the outcome of matches during the 2013 and 2014 K-League seasons.

The decision was based on new eligibility rules, the AFC said.

Jeonbuk can bring its case to the CAS within 10 days of the decision, but may not have enough time to secure a ruling before the competition starts next month.

“Even if we win our case, we cannot participate if the CAS ruling is made after the AFC Champions League starts,” a Jeonbuk official was quoted as saying by local media.

“We will request the CAS to make a ruling as soon as possible,” he said in the article republished on the club’s website.

Asia’s football authorities have long struggled against match-fixing, with major scandals in countries including South Korea and China.

In September, K-League leaders Jeonbuk were docked nine points and fined 100 million won ($83,000) after one of their scouts was convicted of bribing referees during the 2013 season. 

They narrowly missed out on the Korean title as a result, but beat UAE’s Al Ain 3-2 on aggregate in the Champions League final to lift Asia’s most prestigious club trophy.

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