KV Mechelen off the hook in matchfixing case after all

In football, KV Mechelen have won their appeal at the BAS (the Belgian Arbitration Court for Sports) against an earlier ruling. The Belgian Football Association had ruled that KV Mechelen was to be relegated to second division as a result of matchfixing, but this decision has now been overturned: Mechelen can stay in the top flight after all. The BAS did not say anything about the content: it just ruled that relegation cannot be a punishment according to the Belgian FA's rules.

KV Mechelen allegedly bribed Waasland-Beveren to stay in the top flight one year ago: Waasland-Beveren were safe, but 'Malinwa' needed 3 points if they wanted to avoid relegation. Both teams met on the last day of play. Mechelen won it, but were relegated after all because challengers Eupen also won. 

Last season, KV Mechelen gained promotion from the second division and they also won the Belgian Cup, beating top flight club AA Gent in the final. However, their success was overshadowed by the matchfixing probe. While Waasland-Beveren were let off the hook by the FA, KV Mechelen were relegated, but the Mechelen club decided to appeal against the decision with the BAS, with success. 

KV Mechelen will not be relegated, but could still lose their European ticket and Cup ticket for next season. The BAS decision is a bummer for Beerschot-Wilrijk, who had hoped to take the place of KV Mechelen after becoming runners-up last season in the second division, and also for Sporting Lokeren who were relegated last season. 

The BAS had to announce a decision since the European competition is coming nearer, and as the preparation for the new domestic season is already underway, but the uncertainty about these European tickets still remains.