Red Star Belgrade excluded from Champions League

Fans of Red Star Belgrade light flares in support of their team but could they miss out on the 2014/15 Champions League?

Story highlights

  • Red Star Belgrade banned from 2014/15 Champions League tournament
  • Serbian champions failed to pay debts
  • City rivals Partizan now stand to take Serbia's Champions League place

Red Star Belgrade have been excluded from next season's Champions League for failing to meet their debts.

The Serbian champions -- also known as FK Crvena Zvezda -- were found to be "in breach of a number of provisions of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations," a statement on UEFA's website said.

Red Star were due to enter the Champions League at the second qualifying round stage due to commence on July 15 and 16.

The Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body reported the case in early April "after becoming aware of the existence of overdue payables as a result of a complaint," the UEFA statement continued.

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"Accordingly, Crvena Zvezda are excluded from participating in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League for which they had qualified on sporting merit."

The club now have ten days to decide whether they will appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

City rival and league runner up, Partizan Belgrade, could be awarded Serbia's Champions League spot in Red Star's place while the country's football association may face a UEFA investigation of its own for granting a license to the club.

UEFA has looked to crack down on clubs overspending in recent years, introducing financial fair play rules which aim to stop teams getting into unmanageable debt.

Europe's governing body handed down sanctions to nine clubs last month, including English and French champions Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, for falling foul of the new rules.

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