Spanish soccer club Malaga, which is owned by Qatar’s Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani, was barred from next season’s Champions League for breaking so-called financial fair-play rules.
European soccer’s ruling body, UEFA, said on its website that the club must also pay a 300,000 euro ($395,000) fine and may get a further ban if it doesn’t prove by March 31 that it has no overdue payments to clubs, employees or tax authorities.
UEFA, based in Nyon, Switzerland, is seeking to bring clubs in line with financial controls that aim to reduce debt and prevent them from spending above their means.
Malaga, which is fourth in Spain’s La Liga and was yesterday drawn to play Porto in the round of 16 in this season’s Champions League, said in a statement that the sanctions were “completely disproportionate” to its situation and it would contest them aggressively.
“The club believes it is being made a scapegoat and an example of by UEFA with this unfair treatment,” according to the Malaga statement.
The club said it has reached agreements with players and tax authorities over its obligations, and Sheikh Abdullah has made a “recent” investment of 7 million euros in the team.