- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

NYON, Switzerland (AP) - UEFA has banned Partizan Belgrade from the Champions League and Europa League for the next three seasons because of unpaid debts.

The ruling from UEFA says the 2015 Serbian champions had racked up almost 2.5 million euros ($2.6 million) in unpaid debts as of September, most of it to social and tax authorities in Serbia.

A three-year ban is unusually severe, but UEFA ruled it was needed because Partizan had broken rules on unpaid debts three times in the last five years.

Citing “a remarkably similar set of circumstances” to Partizan’s last debt case in 2013, when it was given a suspended one-year ban from European competitions, UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body said only a harsher punishment “is appropriate and also capable of producing a general deterrent effect.”

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