Soccer-Tampere expelled by Finnish FA, start of season delayed

HELSINKI, April 14 Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:10pm BST

HELSINKI, April 14 (Reuters) - Tampere United were expelled from all competitions by the Finnish FA on Thursday over irregularities related to a marketing deal forcing the start of the season to be delayed by a week.

The FA's disciplinary committee said Tampere had allowed Singaporean firm Exclusive Sport PTE Ltd to improperly influence the choice of players for certain matches as part of a marketing deal.

"We from the league warned them with a letter in December and January. Tampere United was not the only team approached by this firm, but the other teams backed off after our warning," Lasse Lehtinen, chairman of the Finnish football league, told Reuters.

Tampere United said in the statement it disagreed with the disciplinary committee's decision and would appeal.

A Singaporean man working for Exclusive Sport PTE Ltd was in late February detained by Finnish police as he was using a fake ID. He is suspected of fixing matches in Finland and elsewhere.

Processing Tampere's appeal is expected to take at least a few weeks. The appeal process is continuing for AC Oulu, which had its league licence revoked in February because of its poor financial situation.

(Reporting by Terhi Kinnunen, editing by Justin Palmer)