- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Jeonbuk Motors will not be able to defend its Asian Champions League title in 2017 after being disqualified due to a bribery scandal.

The South Korean club defeated Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates in November to take a second continental crown but has been ejected from next season’s competition after a club scout was found guilty of bribing referees in 2014.

The decision was taken by the Entry Control Body, a committee independent of the Asian Football Confederation that operates the competition.

In a statement, the AFC said that Jeonbuk had been ruled ineligible “due to its indirect involvement in activities aimed at arranging or influencing the outcome of matches…”

Jeonbuk said it will appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The club was punished in September by the Korean authorities and docked nine points. That decision cost the club a third successive K-League title.

Jeonbuk’s place in Group H will be taken by Jeju United, the team that finished third in the 2016 K-League. Ulsan Hyundai Horangi will now face either Kitchee of Hong Kong or Vietnam’s Hanoi in a play-off to enter the group stage.

Adelaide United had been due to face Jeonbuk in Group H of the tournament expressed its dissatisfaction at being grouped with the Koreans after December’s draw and called for the club’s removal. Adelaide chairman Greg Griffin also said that South Korea should not be allowed to field a replacement.

“The Koreans have lost the right to field a team in Group H,” Griffin said. “The Korean Football Association should never have nominated Jeonbuk, they know the rules. There has to be a price to be paid and the price is they’ve should lose an automatic slot into the Champions League.”

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