Football: Sport's top court upholds Metalist's Champions League ban for match-fixing

LAUSANNE (AFP) - Ukrainian football club Metalist Kharkiv lost their appeal against a Champions League ban for match-fixing following a decision made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday.

Metalist had been kicked out of the 2013-14 competition by European football's governing body Uefa after the Ukrainians had been found guilty by the CAS of match-fixing in their homeland.

The club, who have been replaced by PAOK of Greece for the Champions League play-off clash with Schalke 04 - with a place in the lucrative group stages up for grabs for the winner - had filed an urgent request to CAS seeking a temporary stay of the decision.

Uefa welcomed the decision, releasing a statement on its website saying: "In rejecting the request of Metalist, the CAS has upheld the decision of the Uefa Appeals Body.

"It follows that PAOK FC will participate in the Uefa Champions League play-off match against FC Schalke 04, the first leg of which will take place on Aug 21 2013 in Germany."

On Aug 2, a CAS panel determined that Metalist, as well as some individual club officials, were guilty of match-fixing in relation to a Ukrainian league game with Karpaty Lviv in 2008.

Uefa subsequently opened proceedings against the Ukrainians, resulting in Metalist being banned from this year's Champions League.

PAOK, who had originally been eliminated by Metalist in the previous qualifying round, were thus reinstated to face Schalke.

The Greek club had been due to drop down into the Europa League, but they will not be replaced in that competition, meaning their scheduled play-off round opponents, Maccabi Tel-Aviv of Israel, advance directly to the group stage.