Albanian side KF Skenderbeu Korce have been hit with the heaviest punishment in UEFA’s 63-year history after being found guilty of multiple counts of match-fixing.
UEFA’s ethics and disciplinary body have banned Skenderbeu from European competition for 10 years, coupled with a €1million fine – the largest individual fine UEFA have ever imposed on a club.
The punishment comes at the end of a two-year investigation, which found that Skenderbeu had been complicit in a huge betting scam, with UEFA’s Betting Fraud Detection System flagging about 50 of their matches that it suspected were fixed.
According to the UEFA report, players downed tools in crucial games and deliberately allowed goals to be conceded, thus enabling gamblers to pocket large sums of money.
The report concludes that “Skenderbeu has been fixing football matches like nobody has ever done before in the history of the game”.
Regardless, the club’s president Ardjan Takaj, who himself is implicated in the report as being the mastermind of the scam, insists that the White and Reds are entirely “clean” and therefore plans to lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The verdict brings to an abrupt end eight years of unprecedented on-field success for Skenderbeu, who have been crowned domestic champions five times since 2011 and even qualified for the Champions League proper in 2015 – thus becoming the first Albanian team to do so.
Oh well. It’s better to
burn out collapse into a corrupt quagmire of your own making than to fade away.