15 April 2010
Uefa’s ongoing fight to eradicate match-fixing notched up a significant victory today when The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland upheld several Uefa verdicts as CAS dealt with a match-fixing case for the first time in its history. The Macedonia club FK Pobeda had been banned for eight years by Uefa for fixing and CAS upheld this, although one verdict on an individual player was overturned.
A statement from CAS, where decisions are available in full for download, said: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rendered its final decision in the arbitration between FK Pobeda (Macedonia), Aleksandar Zabrcanec, President of FK Pobeda, Nikolce Zdraveski, former player, and the Union Européenne de Football Association (UEFA). The decision of the UEFA Appeals Body of 27 May 2009 is partially upheld :
“FK Pobeda is excluded from any UEFA competition for eight years starting from the 2009/2010 season. Aleksandar Zabrcanec is sanctioned with a life ban on exercising any football-related activities. Furthermore, the appeal of Nikolce Zdraveski is admitted and the UEFA decision in this regard of 27 May 2009 is annulled.
“In the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League 2004/2005, FK Pobeda played against FC Pyunik (Armenia). Subsequently, a betting expert mandated by the UEFA produced a report which established that an unusual large amount of money had been betted on the first game between Pobeda and Pyunik. In April 2009, after an investigation performed by the UEFA, the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body found that the President of the Club, Mr Zabrcanec, and its former captain, Mr Zdraveski, had violated the principle of integrity and sportsmanship pursuant to the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.
“FK Pobeda was suspended from competing in any UEFA competitions for eight years starting from 2009/2010 season and its President and its former captain were banned from exercising any football-related activities for life. The sanctions were confirmed by the UEFA Appeals Body on 27 May 2009.
“The case was referred to a Panel of CAS Arbitrators composed of Mr Efraim Barak, Israel (President), Mr Stephan Netzle, Switzerland and Mr Denis Oswald, Switzerland. A hearing was held in Lausanne on 16 and 17 December 2009, during which the parties, their legal representatives and their witnesses and experts were heard. Certain measures were ordered by the CAS to ensure the testimony of some protected witnesses to avoid any influence by third parties.”
The CAS Panel decided to confirm in part the UEFA decision considering that the evidence brought by UEFA was sufficient to establish that the matches between Pobeda and Pyunik were fixed. The involvement of Mr Zabrcanec, President of the Club, in this manipulation was recognized by the CAS Panel and, as a consequence, the responsibility of FK Pobeda was also confirmed. However, the CAS Panel was not satisfied by the evidence brought forward by UEFA against Mr Zdraveski and was not comfortably satisfied to establish that he was actually involved in match fixing. Due to this lack of evidence, the disciplinary measures that have been ordered against him by UEFA were annulled.