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UEFA excludes Porto from Champions League
June 04, 2008 19:36 IST
Porto have been excluded from next season's Champions League by European soccer's governing body UEFA [Images] over the alleged bribery of referees in the 2003-04 season, the Portuguese club said in a statement on Wednesday.
Porto said it would try to overturn the decision through the UEFA appeals body. The club gave no further details and its officials were not immediately available to comment.
"It was notified today by the Controls and Disciplinary body of UEFA that (Porto) it will not be admitted to the 2008/09 campaign of the UEFA Champions League," Porto said in the statement.
The decision comes after a lengthy investigation known as "Apito Dourado," or Golden Whistle, into alleged bribery by Porto of referees in three matches in the 2003/4 season.
Last month the Disciplinary Commission of the Professional Portuguese Football League stripped Porto of six points and fined the club 150,000 euros ($234,000) over the case.
Porto's management decided not to appeal against that decision on the grounds that the club had a substantial lead and the six-points punishment did not affect final standings. Porto won last season's Portuguese title for the third time in a row, 14 points ahead of Sporting.
Their president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa has been suspended for two years by the Disciplinary Commission and fined 10,000 Euros in the case.
Jose Mourinho, who joined Inter Milan on Tuesday, was the Porto coach in the 2003/4 season when his side won the Champions League and Portuguese title. His name has not been mentioned during the investigation.
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