By Shane McGinley
Ruling means Spanish club will not be able to take a place in next season's Europa League
Spanish football club Malaga, which is owned by Qatari businessman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani, will not be able to take a place in next season's Europa League after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected their appeal against a UEFA ban from continental competition.
European soccer's ruling body, which is getting tough on teams that live beyond their means, initially banned Qatar-owned Malaga for two years in December because of overdue payments to rival clubs and Spanish tax authorities.
That was later reduced to a year after the club "regularised its overdue payables" by a March 31 deadline and they appealed to CAS asking for the UEFA decision to be annulled or replaced with less severe sanctions.
However, CAS announced this week it had rejected the appeal and ruled Malaga, who finished sixth in La Liga last season, would also have to pay the original fine of €300,000 euros ($399,532).
The Swiss-based court said it would publish the reasons for its decision at an unspecified date.
Malaga reiterated after the CAS decision that they had complied with UEFA rules set out in the organisation's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations and deserved to be able to take up their Europa League place.
"The Spanish football federation (RFEF), within the parameters set by UEFA, confirmed on May 14, 2013 that Malaga's application for a UEFA licence had been approved," the club said on their website.
Their Europa League berth will now be taken by Rayo Vallecano, who finished eighth, if the Madrid-based club can resolve their own financial problems.
Otherwise, ninth-placed Sevilla will compete in Europe's second-tier club competition next term, a tournament they won in 2006 and 2007 when it was called the UEFA Cup.
The club’s owner Sheikh Abdullah bought the Andalusian club for $44m in June 2010 and heavy investment in players helped them finish fourth last season and secure a place in the Champions League playoff round.
In April, club director general Vicente Casado dismissed rumours that the club was to be sold. "It is completely untrue, and there is absolutely no reason to suggest otherwise”.
Sheikh Abdullah "is totally committed to Malaga. The owner will continue to invest in the club. I’m very optimistic about the future of this entity. One of the owner’s representatives is here in his office every day, highlighting his continued interest in the club,” Casado added.