UEFA bans Red Star Belgrade from Champions League

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) - UEFA has barred Serbian title winner Red Star Belgrade from next season’s Champions League for not paying its debts.

The 1991 European Cup winner was judged “in breach of a number of provisions of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations,” UEFA said in a statement.

Clubs must show they have paid player salaries, transfer fees, and social taxes before being granted a license to enter UEFA competitions.

UEFA said the judging panel of its club finance monitoring body was told in April “of the existence of overdue payables as a result of a complaint.”

Red Star has 10 days to file an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The club was due to enter the Champions League second qualifying round, and make its first appearance in Europe’s top competition for seven years. It would need to beat three opponents to reach the 32-team group stage.

League runner-up Partizan, Red Star’s city rival, stands to get the Champions League berth.

Serbia’s football association also faces UEFA sanctions for granting Red Star its license.

“An investigation against the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) might be opened within the coming days by the chief investigator for alleged breaches of the club licensing regulations,” UEFA said.

All clubs must prove their financial integrity to a national association before being formally approved to represent their country in the Champions League or Europa League.

UEFA’s licensing system pre-dates the FFP rules but has been given a higher profile as a weapon to curb clubs who overspend and avoid paying debts.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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