SEOUL (Reuters) - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday rejected Jeonbuk Motors’s appeal for provisional measures to allow the club defend their Asian Champions League title following the South Korean side’s involvement in a 2013 bribery scandal.
The Asian Football Confederation said last month that the Entry Control Body (ECB), a judicial independent body, had disqualified Jeonbuk from the continent’s premier club competition this season.
“At this stage, the challenged decision remains in force and the Korean club remains ineligible to participate in the AFC Champions League 2017,” CAS said in a statement.
Jeonbuk were docked nine points and fined $91,000 by the K League’s disciplinary committee last September for payments a club scout made to referees in 2013.
The club, who finished second in the K League Classic last season, were crowned champions of Asia in November after sealing a 3-2 aggregate victory over United Arab Emirates’ side Al Ain.
In May, prosecutors charged two referees in South Korea’s top league with accepting bribes totalling 5 million won (about $4,250) from a Jeonbuk Motors club scout, with three payments of 1 million won each made to one official and two to the other.
The scout was sentenced to a six-month suspended jail term for bribery by the Busan District Court.
The AFC confirmed that Jeju United FC would take Jeonbuk’s place in Group H of this year’s Asian Champions League, while Ulsan Hyundai will host Hong Kong’s Kitchee on Feb. 7 in a playoff for a place in the group stage.
Korean champions FC Seoul are in Group F, while the country’s FA Cup winners, Suwon Samsung Bluewings, are in Group G of the 32-team tournament.
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien