The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has announced final decisions in the arbitration case between UEFA and footballers Norbert Mészáros and Vukašin Poleksic.
The CAS announced on Thursday 5 May that it has partially confirmed a decision by the UEFA Appeals Body taken on 8 September 2010. It ruled that the suspension of Vukašin Poleksic, until 30 June 2012, is maintained and that the suspension of Norbert Mészáros, until 31 December 2011, is annulled.
Norbert Mészáros and Vukašin Poleksic both played for Hungarian club Debreceni VSC during the 2009/10 season, and both played in a UEFA Champions League match against ACF Fiorentina in Budapest on 20 October 2009, which the Italian visitors won 4-3.
"In relation to that match," the CAS said, "some investigations were carried out by the police authorities of Bochum [Germany] in cooperation with the UEFA Disciplinary Services, which revealed that a criminal gang was planning to manipulate the match within the framework of an organised betting fraud.
"As a result, the case was referred to the Control and Disciplinary Body of UEFA considering that both players were suspected of having violated the principles of loyalty and integrity by not reporting attempts of bribery and by acting in a way that was likely to exert an influence on the progress and/or result of a match in violation of the UEFA Regulations," the CAS added. UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body suspended Norbert Mészáros until 31 December 2011, fining him €7,000, and suspended Vukašin Poleksic until 30 June 2012, handing down a €10,000 fine. The sanctions were confirmed by the UEFA Appeals Body.
Both players filed an appeal with the CAS in October 2010, requesting the annulment of the UEFA decision (Mészáros) and the reduction of the suspension (Poleksic). The case was referred to a panel of CAS arbitrators, and a hearing took place in Lausanne on 10 March this year.
"The CAS panel confirmed the UEFA decision regarding Vukašin Poleksic," the CAS said, "and concluded that it had been proven to its comfortable satisfaction that there had been contacts between the player and the members of a criminal group involved in match-fixing and betting fraud and that he was obliged to have reported the said contacts to UEFA. By failing to make such a report, Poleksic had violated the principles of conduct set forth in the UEFA Regulations.
"The CAS panel annulled the UEFA decision regarding Norbert Mészáros," the CAS continued, "considering that the evidence submitted to the CAS was not sufficient to establish to the comfortable satisfaction of the panel that a violation of the UEFA regulations had been committed.
"The existence of an effective manipulation concerning the Champions League match between Debrecen and Fiorentina could not be established during the CAS procedure," the CAS statement concluded.
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