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Osasuna back in Conference League after UEFA overturns ban

Juan Manuel Serrano Arce / Getty Images Sport / Getty

PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) — Spanish soccer club Osasuna overturned expulsion from the Europa Conference League on Tuesday after reaching an agreement with UEFA which was signed off by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

UEFA removed Osasuna from the third-tier European competition three weeks ago because former club officials were implicated in fixing matches a decade ago.

Osasuna argued then its current management was not involved in match manipulation which under UEFA club competition rules demands a one-year expulsion if the fixing happened since 2007 when its legal statutes were updated.

The club from Pamplona filed an appeal at CAS trying to save its first European qualification for 17 years which it earned by placing seventh in the Spanish league last season.

In a statement Tuesday, Osasuna said a so-called “consent award” was reached with UEFA and ratified by CAS.

UEFA said in a statement Osasuna had produced new evidence “which it was not in a position to file at an earlier stage.”

“UEFA reviewed this material and concluded that Osasuna has not been involved in match-fixing activities in the meaning of (competition rules),” the European soccer body said.

A verdict was needed before the Conference League playoff round starts Aug. 24.

Athletic Bilbao, which was eighth in La Liga, had been preparing to enter the playoffs draw that UEFA will conduct on Aug. 7.

If Osasuna advances to the group stage, it can expect to earn at least 6 million euros ($6.6 million) in UEFA prize money from its first European action since the 2006-07 season.

Osasuna still faces a separate though less serious UEFA disciplinary investigation for taking its case in recent weeks to a local court outside of soccer’s judicial system. UEFA said that case was ongoing. ___

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