The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has announced a series of decisions in relation to an arbitration case between UEFA, the FYR Macedonia club FK Pobeda, the Pobeda president Aleksandar Zabrcanec and former player Nikolce Zdraveski.
CAS said on Thursday that a decision made by the UEFA Appeals Body on 27 May 2009 is partially upheld. Pobeda are excluded from any UEFA competition for eight years starting from the 2009/10 season, and Aleksandar Zabrcanec is banned for life from exercising any football-related activities.
The case relates to disciplinary decisions taken with regard to unusual betting patterns in a UEFA Champions League first qualifying round match between Pobeda and Armenian club FC Pyunik in 2004/05, and subsequent decisions taken by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body and the Appeals Body. The matter was ultimately referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"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," said CAS in its statement.
"The involvement of Mr Zabrcanec, president of the club, in this manipulation was recognised 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 (...) 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."
It is the first CAS decision in relation to match-fixing. "We are very pleased that the Court of Arbitration for Sport has mainly upheld UEFA's disciplinary decisions regarding FK Pobeda, and UEFA's ongoing fight to rid football of corruption," said UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino. UEFA has set up a Betting Fraud Detection System (BFDS) which monitors around 29,000 games across Europe, including all UEFA competition fixtures, as well as all first and second division, and national cup matches across its 53 member associations.